Assisting in Times of Disaster
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Give Wisely Following a disaster, please consider the following
Response can take days to weeks to months and recovery can take years. Devastation can take a variety of forms from personal to regional.
Please know that your interest is appreciated. The safety and well-being of those impacted and the safety of volunteers are critical.
Following a disaster, please consider the following as you investigate ways in which to assist those affected by disaster:
- Do Not Self-Deploy
Volunteer Wisely: In communities struggling to respond to and recover from disasters, an influx of unexpected, un-requested, and unneeded volunteers can seriously complicate the process. BEFORE TRAVELING TO THE AREA TO HELP, learn whether volunteers are needed and if they are seeking specific skills.
Financial Contributions are Preferred: cash donations help to avoid the labor and expense of sorting, packing, transporting, storing, and distributing donated goods. Relief and response agencies can use cash to meet survivors' identified needs more quickly.
Donate through an established disaster relief, response, or recovery organization: information on reputable agencies responding to the disaster is typically available through news media and government websites or via press releases.
CONFIRM the need before collecting: donors should be wary of anyone who claims that "everything is needed." Groups can be disappointed when the goods they've collected aren't appreciated. Communities affected by disaster often do not have the time or resources to dispose of unneeded donations. Get precise information and confirm the need before collecting any donated good. Better yet, remember that financial contributions are preferred.
To learn more:
FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency)
National VOAD (Voluntary Organizations in Disaster)
Current Responses: https://www.nvoad.org/howtohelp/current-responses/
How to Help After a Tornado https://www.directrelief.org/2019/05/how-to-help-after-a-tornado/
Guidelines for Giving | US AID CIDI (Center for International Disaster Information)
Center for Disaster Philanthrophy https://disasterphilanthropy.org/resources-2/basic-tips-for-disaster-giving/
The Howard County community has a variety of volunteer opportunities throughout the year. Visit volunteerhoward.org/search or volunteerhoward.org/calendar to view other community needs. To identify community nonprofits that assist families in need, review the Guide to Giving.
As of June 19, 2020, be advised that the staff of the Volunteer Center Serving Howard County, a program of the Columbia Association, is on temporary furlough with no access to email or voicemail. Confirm your interest to serve with individual partner organizations.