FEMA: How You Can Help Disaster Survivors

In the wake of a disaster, Americans have always come together with compassion and courage to ask how they can help survivors of Hurricane Florence. There are many ways that you can help survivors and ensure that an individual contribution – whether financial donation or personal time – is carried out responsibly.

The fastest way to help – cash is best

“It is much more effective to donate $50 to help a family buy what they need immediately rather than spend $50 to ship supplies or clothing into a disaster area,” said Kevin Smith, director of the Department of Homeland Security Center for Faith and Opportunity Initiatives.

The most effective means to support recovery of communities affected by hurricanes and tropical storms is to donate money to trusted voluntary-, faith- and community-based charitable organizations. This gives these organizations the ability to purchase what survivors need right now. In addition, when these organizations purchase goods or services locally, they pump money back into the local and regional economy, helping businesses recover faster.

The National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD) list trusted organizations receiving donations, many of which are already coordinating relief and response efforts in the impacted areas.  If you need help in determining who to give to, visit the NVOAD website, www.nvoad.org, which includes a list of major non-profits active in disaster work.

Volunteering

Anyone seeking an opportunity to get involved in response and recovery operations underway is encouraged to volunteer with local and nationally known organizations. A list of volunteer websites is available at www.nvoad.org.

North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia ask that volunteers not self-deploy, as unexpected arrival in affected communities creates an additional burden for first responders.

To register as an affiliated volunteer with a voluntary or charitable organization, visit the National VOAD for a list of partners active in disaster.

Impacted states have also started coordinating donations and volunteer efforts directly. For more information on their efforts, visit:

North Carolina

The state asks that people consider donating to trusted organizations, like the North Carolina Disaster Relief Fund: https://www.rebuild.nc.gov/ or text Florence to 20222. Want to volunteer? Go to https://www.nc.gov/volunteer.

South Carolina

Information on donating and volunteering is available on the South Carolina Emergency Management’s Division website: https://scemd.org/recover/volunteer-and-donate/.

Virginia

Virginia asks people to go to the Virginia Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters website to help or volunteer: https://vavoad.org/.

Wherever you choose to give, be patient. Recovery lasts a lot longer than media attention. There will be recovery needs for many months, often many years, after the disaster. Your support is always appreciated.

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