To help manage the generous outpouring of support for those individuals and communities affected by Irene, disaster recovery experts have established some simple ways to help, whether you’re looking to volunteer or send donations.
Along with our partners at the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, here are reminders when helping those impacted by Irene:
- Donate through a trusted organization – At the national level, many voluntary-, faith- and community-based organizations are active in disasters, and are trusted ways to donate to disaster survivors. In addition to the national members, each state has its own list of voluntary organizations active in disasters. If you’d like to donate or volunteer to assist those affected by Irene, these organizations are the best place to start.
- Cash is the most efficient method of donating – Cash offers voluntary agencies the most flexibility in obtaining the most-needed resources and pumps money into the local economy to help businesses recover. Remember, 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.
- Be wary of scams and fraud - Unfortunately, disasters often bring out criminals who prey on the needs of disaster survivors, or the generosity of those looking to help, by offering fraudulent services. If you suspect anyone – an inspector, disaster survivor, or someone posing as one of these – of fraudulent activities, call our toll-free Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721, or your local law enforcement officials. (See this blog post for tips on identifying disaster fraud)
For more information on helping survivors after a disaster, visit www.fema.gov/howtohelp.