Our hearts go out to all those affected by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.  Events such as these underscore the important work of voluntary and humanitarian aid organizations, many of which also have domestic programs here in the United States.  While the public at large often want to send unsolicited goods, please help disseminate the important message that "cash is best".

The following information from FEMA  outlines how individuals and community groups can assist during a disaster.

Financial contributions to a recognized disaster relief organization is the most effective donation to make.

  • Most needed and the most efficient way of helping those impacted by disaster.
  • Allow voluntary organizations to fund response and recovery efforts, obtain goods and services locally, and provide direct financial assistance to disaster survivors to meet their own needs.
  • Make a financial contribution to the voluntary organization of your choice.
  • If you need help in determining who to give to, National Voluntary Organization Active in Disaster website, www.nvoad.org has a list of major Non-profits that are active in disaster work.

When the public supports these voluntary organizations with financial contributions, it helps ensure a steady flow of important services to the people in need after a disaster.

Donated Goods Confirm what is needed BEFORE taking action!

  • Donate in-kind goods that are specifically requested or needed by recognized organizations.
  • Unsolicited donated goods such as used clothing, miscellaneous household items, and mixed or perishable foodstuffs, require helping agencies to redirect valuable resources away from providing services to sort, package, transport, warehouse, and distribute items that may not meet the needs of disaster survivors.
  • Confirm the needs by contacting the voluntary organization of your choice before starting to collect.
  • If you have a quantity of a given item or class of item to donate, and you need help in determining which organizations to give to, you can make your offer through the National Donations Management Network.  You can also donate to these organizations directly
Everyone is moved when they hear the news that disaster has struck a community. By learning the best ways to donate and volunteer, we can all make a huge difference in the lives of those affected.
Posted:  March 14, 2011