When disaster strikes, concerned people everywhere want to help. Those nearby want to go immediately, chainsaws in hand, garbage bags in hand. It is a wonderful impulse. Sometimes the community can use help immediately; sometimes they need a few days to finish Search and Rescue and to get organized with work orders so that your time will not be wasted.
On the first day and the second, maybe the third, please be patient.
Watch local media for instructions about when and where to go.
Sign up on the state’s Volunteer website; e.g., Volunteer Mississippi, Volunteer Florida. There you will be able to get good information about needs and best locations to work.
- To volunteer, affiliate with a responding organization. Your worshipping community may have an organized disaster response arm, or you can find a good one by going to the website of National VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) at http://www.nvoad.org. The list of members will show you trusted disaster organizations to whom you might donate or with whom you can affiliate.
- When you go, be sure to go to the Volunteer Reception Center (or Volunteer Recovery Center) to register and receive work orders.
While you wait to go,
- Pray in your own tradition for survivors and those who serve them.
- Give to your favorite disaster organization.