BATON ROUGE, La. – In the aftermath of hurricanes Laura and Delta, volunteers from across the country, state and local communities helped survivors with both response and recovery. However, five months later, many survivors still need assistance as they move forward in long-term recovery.
Assistance with donations and distribution of food, clothing and other immediate items were provided to survivors after landfall. Volunteers also helped survivors with debris removal, mucking out or gutting flooded homes, tree removal, and roof tarping.
To date, non-profits and volunteers have helped survivors affected by hurricanes Laura and Delta receive:
- More than 15.9 million meals by the Louisiana Multi-Feeding Task Force; and
- Thousands of items such as clothing, hygiene products, cleaning kits and other immediate necessities.
Acadiana, Central, Northeast and Southwest Louisiana Parishes still need volunteers to help with mucking out or gutting flooded homes, roof tarping, tree removal and home repair/rebuild projects. Numerous voluntary agencies and non-profits in these affected regions rely on volunteers and donations to continue recovery efforts in local communities.
Louisiana Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (LA VOAD) is a consortium of voluntary agencies and non-profits dedicated to providing critical help to survivors and their communities throughout recovery. Members include the American Red Cross, Consulting Partners, United Methodist Louisiana Conference, Lutheran Social Services Disaster Response and Samaritans’ Purse. These groups meet regularly to discuss challenges in the community and find creative ways to collaborate to meet survivors’ needs.
FEMA’s Voluntary Agency Liaisons (VALs) help guide and educate local communities and non-profits on donations and volunteer management. The VALs work with these groups to help maximize the value of volunteers, donated items and agencies throughout the recovery process. Major volunteer groups are often associated with National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (NVOAD) and Louisiana VOAD.
How To Get Involved
While all donations are appreciated, cash is best. Cash offers voluntary agencies the most flexibility in obtaining the most-needed resources. Many charities specialize in providing relief in disaster areas, yet they face significant financial barriers to getting their staff, equipment and supplies to impacted areas. Any contributions made are tax-deductible and helps put experienced disaster responders on the ground as well as gives them the tools they need to help survivors recover. Organizations typically prefer cash donations because they allow organizations to:
- Purchase food, water, medicine and equipment from secure and familiar supply chains
- Conserve resources. Money is always necessary and cheap to send, but the cost to ship material supplies can be expensive.
- Material supplies such as used clothing, miscellaneous household items, and mixed or perishable food require helping agencies to redirect volunteer labor away from providing direct one-on-one assistance to sort, package, transport, warehouse, and distribute items that may not meet the needs of disaster survivors.
To ensure your financial contributions are used responsibly, visit Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) and National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters to find lists of organizations receiving donations.
VolunteerLouisiana also provides support to non-profit and volunteer groups. Established under the Lieutenant Governor’s Office, VolunteerLouisiana is the state service commission and helps to promote national service and volunteerism throughout the state. Potential volunteers wanting to help can register with VolunteerLouisiana or any volunteer agency, charitable organization or non-profit of choice.
Survivors seeking information about disaster-related services and unmet needs related to hurricanes Laura and Delta can call 2-1-1, a statewide referral service, to find resources in their local communities. These may include feeding/food pantry locations, childcare, financial assistance, crisis counseling, case management, transportation assistance, volunteer work, emergency clean-up (muck/gut, debris removal, roof tarping, tree removal) personal property.
For the latest information on Hurricane Laura, visit fema.gov/disaster/4559.For the latest information on Hurricane Delta, visit fema.gov/disaster/4570. Follow the FEMA Region 6 Twitter account at twitter.com/FEMARegion6