Hurricane Sandy: Donate and Volunteer Responsibly

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FEMA encourages volunteers and donors to work directly with our nonprofit partners to ensure that survivors' needs are met.  This page provides volunteer opportunities in the areas impacted by Hurricane Sandy, as well as tips on how to donate and volunteer responsibly.

FEMA has been collaborating with many national, state, tribal, and local partners in response to Hurricane Sandy. As always, we encourage volunteers and donors to work directly with our nonprofit partners to ensure that survivors' needs are addressed in the most effective and efficient way.

For the most up-to-date info on how some of our national partners are responding, visit their websites directly at National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, the Corporation for National and Community Service / Serve.gov, HandsOn Network, and United Way 2-1-1.

Here's how you can help:

Volunteer

If you are interested in volunteering in the disaster area, please keep the following in mind:

  • Affiliate with existing non-profit organizations before coming to the disaster area. Immediately following a disaster, a community can become easily overwhelmed by the amount of generous people who want to help. Contacting and affiliating with an established organization will help to ensure that you are appropriately trained to respond in the most effective way.
  • Do not self deploy until a need has been identified and the local community impacted has requested support. Wait until it is safe to travel to volunteer sites and opportunities have been identified. Once assigned a position, make sure you have been given an assignment and are wearing proper safety gear for the task.
  • Make sure you have a place to stay before arriving in the affected area. Don't assume that there will be shelter available through a voluntary, community, or faith based organization or that hotels will have affordable space. Make your arrangements before you leave home to ensure that you will have food and shelter while deployed.
  • Be patient - recovery lasts a lot longer than the media attention. There will be volunteer needs for many months, often years, after the disaster - especially when the community enters the long-term recovery period.

To find volunteer opportunities in the affected areas:

You can also use the following tool (or visit Serve.gov/sandy) to search for volunteer opportunities in the disaster area:


 

Cash Contributions

The best way to support survivors of Hurricane Sandy is to make a financial contribution to the voluntary organization of your choice. Cash offers the most flexibility in obtaining the most-needed resources and pumps money into the local economy to help businesses recover. Cash donations are also very useful in situations where supplies must be acquired quickly. This is the most efficient way to make an impact with your donations.

Visit the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster website for a list of major nonprofits that are active in disaster or find a local organization through their State VOAD Directory.

Donations of Products or Goods

When making a donation of goods or services, please confirm what is needed BEFORE taking action. The amount of unsolicited items that are sent into the affected area can cause one of the biggest issues following a disaster, often referred to as the "2nd Disaster" because of the amount of time, money, and resources that must be dedicated to transport, sort, store, and distribute these items.

If you are interested in making a donation of a large quantity or class of item, it's best to reach out directly to the organization of your choice or to make your offer through the National Donations Management Network.

If you are organizing a collection drive, make sure that you coordinate in advance with an organization that is distributing items and only collect and send what they're asking for. They will know what is most needed and ensure that the items go directly to survivors. Communities that are impacted by disasters often do not have the resources or space to deal with items that are not requested.

Visit the Center for International Disaster Information for creative ideas and guidance on contributing to disaster relief efforts.

Give Blood

The need for blood rises during disasters of this scale, and this problem is exacerbated in affected areas where blood drives may have been cancelled. You can locate information about donating through the American Red Cross or by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS.

Additional Information

Connecticut

Delaware

Maine

Massachusetts

New Hampshire

New Jersey

New York

Pennsylvania

Rhode Island

Vermont

Virginia

West Virginia

Last Updated: 
07/24/2014 - 16:00
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