Frequently, after a disaster hits, donations of food and clothing begin pouring into areas that do not have the resources to sort and distribute items. The best way to help victims of disasters is to make financial contributions to local charities and faith-based organizations that are responding to the situation or the Virginia Disaster Relief Fund.
“Virginians have shown after each disaster that they genuinely want to help those hit hardest, though donating unsolicited clothing and food can actually make a bad situation worse,” said Michael Cline, state coordinator for the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. “Monetary donations are the most efficient way to help most people.”
Cash donation help organizations avoid the labor and expense of sorting, packing, transporting and distributing donated goods. Also, voluntary relief agencies can use cash to meet victims’ needs more quickly.
How To Help:
- Donate money to help Virginians affected by disasters through the Virginia Disaster Relief Fund. The fund is designed to work through charitable organizations, which, in turn, help individuals. A website has been created to process credit card donations at http://www.disasterfund.virginia.gov/. Those who wish to write a check can do so by making checks payable to the Treasurer of Virginia with “Virginia Disaster Relief Fund” noted in the memo line. Send checks to Comptroller’s Office, P.O. Box 1971, Richmond, VA 23218-1971. Donations are tax deductible.
- Volunteer your time to local charities and faith-based organizations. Volunteer wisely. An influx of unexpected or unneeded volunteers can make the process even more difficult. Before traveling to the disaster area, learn if and when your skills are needed. Virginia Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster is an organization of nonprofit and faith-based groups whose mission includes programs either in disaster preparedness, response and/or recovery. Find a list of active groups at www.vavoad.org
- Make a donation to local charities and faith based organizations. Visit the National Donations Management Network at www.NDMN.us to learn about Virginia VOAD organizations and to make a donation. The NDMN also shows companies and organizations what goods are needed in large volumes and how to make high quantity donations.
- Donate goods through an experienced organization. Some relief agencies may have the structure 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.