FEMA's Brown: Money, Not Volunteers, Needed

Aug. 31, 2005
Voluntary organizations are seeking cash donations to assist victims of Hurricane Katrina in Gulf Coast states, according to Michael D. Brown, Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response. But, volunteers should not report directly to the affected areas unless directed by a voluntary agency.

"Cash donations are especially helpful to victims," Brown said. "They allow volunteer agencies to issue cash vouchers to victims so they can meet their needs. Cash donations also allow agencies to avoid the labor-intensive need to store, sort, pack and distribute donated goods. Donated money prevents, too, the prohibitive cost of air or sea transportation that donated goods require."

Volunteer agencies provide a wide variety of services after disasters, such as clean up, childcare, housing repair, crisis counseling, sheltering and food.

"We're grateful for the outpouring of support already," Brown said. "But it's important that volunteer response is coordinated by the professionals who can direct volunteers with the appropriate skills to the hardest-hit areas where they are needed most. Self-dispatched volunteers and especially sightseers can put themselves and others in harm's way and hamper rescue efforts."

Here is a list of phone numbers set up solely for cash donations and/or volunteers.

Donate cash to:

  • American Red Cross (800) HELP NOW (435-7669) English, (800) 257-7575 Spanish
  • Operation Blessing (800) 436-6348
  • America's Second Harvest (800) 344-8070

Donate cash to and volunteer with:

  • Adventist Community Services (800) 381-7171
  • Catholic Charities, USA (703) 549-1390
  • Christian Disaster Response (941) 956-5183 or (941) 551-9554
  • Christian Reformed World Relief Committee (800) 848-5818
  • Church World Service (800) 297-1516
  • Convoy of Hope (417) 823-8998
  • Lutheran Disaster Response (800) 638-3522
  • Mennonite Disaster Service (717) 859-2210
  • Nazarene Disaster Response (888) 256-5886
  • Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (800) 872-3283
  • Salvation Army (800) SAL-ARMY (725-2769)
  • Southern Baptist Convention, Disaster Relief (800) 462-8657, ext. 6440
  • United Methodist Committee on Relief (800) 554-8583

For further information: visit the Web site for the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD) at www.nvoad.org.

About the Author

Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is the former content director of EHS Today, and is currently the EHSQ content & community lead at Intelex Technologies Inc. She has written about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990.

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