The Florida Division of Emergency Management, along with the Governor’s Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service (Volunteer Florida) and Florida’s Disaster Fund (Florida’s Foundation) are encouraging Floridians to assist the Southeastern and Central United States that were impacted by tornadoes late last month and are still facing devastating damage from flooding. However, these agencies encourage Floridians to donate wisely to ensure donations are helpful and effective.
“Floridians know, based on our own history of hurricanes and other disasters, that the coordination of volunteers and donations is essential to recovery,” said Bryan W. Koon, director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management.
“I have spoken to our counterparts in these states and they are working around the clock to coordinate volunteers and donations,” said Volunteer Florida CEO Wendy Spencer. “Floridians want to do their part to help out, and by donating cash or sending donations through an experienced relief organization they can be sure their assistance is meeting the most critical needs.”
Volunteer Florida, one of Florida’s lead agencies responsible for the coordination of donations and engagement of volunteers in disaster relief, and Florida’s Disaster Fund offer the following tips on how to donate wisely to support the Southeastern and Central states:
Financial Contributions are Critical and Effective
Cash donations help to avoid the labor and expense of sorting, packaging, transporting and distributing donated goods, and voluntary relief agencies can use cash to meet disaster survivors’ specific needs more quickly.
Donate to an Experienced Disaster Relief Organization
Relief agencies prefer the versatility of cash donations; however, experienced disaster relief organizations frequently have the infrastructure in place to store and distribute donated goods. To prevent waste, donations of goods should be made only to agencies that have requested specific items.
Confirm Needs Before Collecting
Donors should be wary of anyone who claims that “everything is needed.” A community hit by disaster does not have the time, staffing or money to dispose of unneeded donations. Many groups have been disappointed that their efforts and the goods they collected were not appreciated. Get precise information and confirm the need before collecting any donated goods.
Assistance Needed State-By-State
Thirteen states in the U.S. Southeastern and Central regions have been impacted by recent floods and tornadoes: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Wisconsin. Donations can be made to each of these specific states through the National Donations Management Network, www.aidmatrixnetwork.org; additional points of contact for select states are listed below.
Alabama: www.servealabama.gov or 888-421-1266
Mississippi: www.mcvs.org or toll-free number 888-353-1793
Louisiana: www.volunteerlouisiana.gov or toll-free 866-286-3835
The Florida Division of Emergency Management and Volunteer Florida have also provided trained disaster personnel to assist impacted states in recovery from the recent severe weather.
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The Governor’s Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service, Volunteer Florida, was established in 1994 by the Florida Legislature to administer grants under the National and Community Service Trust Act of 1993. The Commission grants funds to Florida AmeriCorps and National Service programs; coordinates volunteerism in disaster preparedness, response and recovery; and helps to strengthen and expand volunteer engagement for everyone from youths to seniors to people with disabilities. For more information, visit: www.volunteerflorida.org.
The Florida’s Disaster Fund is managed by Florida’s Foundation, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) charitable organization. The mission of the Florida’s Disaster Fund is to raise funds to help Floridians with recovery from natural disasters through strengthening families and rebuilding communities. For more information, visit: www.fladisasterrecoveryfund.org.
For more information on the Florida Division of Emergency Management and to GET A PLAN!, please visit: www.FloridaDisaster.org . Follow us on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/flsert and on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/FloridaSERT.