by Wilma Norton in Giving
3 Stages of Disaster Help
1: Before and during
Be Prepared! There are a number of sources providing checklists of how to prepare for a potential disaster and what to have on hand. Here is a good resource to check out:
Be sure to do proper preparations for yourself, and your loved ones. HEED WARNINGS. If you receive an evacuation order… Evacuate! Keep yourself and loved ones out of harm’s way.
2. Immediately after.
If you are in a position to personally help, contact your local authorities to volunteer and be willing to accept assignments where you are most needed. If you wish to make donations, please keep in mind monetary donations are THE best way to contribute. Food clothing and other items quickly become a logistical issue and easily become part of the problem rather than the solution. With donated funds what is needed can be purchased for where it’s needed, when it’s needed. For giving funds see “Making Donations” below.
3. Recovery and rebuilding.
After the immediate needs are met and after the media attention fades is where the real work for local residents and organizations begins. This is when local government and nonprofit organizations will really need your help. You can have a big impact in your local community by being willing to volunteer your time and/or funds to help your community recover and move on from a difficult time. Contact your local civic or nonprofit organization if you want to help. For making donations see below.
4. Making donations.
There are two important means of making financial donations based of how you want to help.
A. Immediate emergency needs.
These are funds to be put to work for dealing with the immediate aftermath providing food, shelter, medical attention and so forth. Best recipients of these funds are a number of well-known organizations that are focused on helping at this time. The thing to keep in mind about these organizations is they are here for the immediate aftermath, then they are gone, so what if you want to help your community in the long term recovery?
B. Long term recovery needs.
This is often the hardest part. After the media and national attention moves on but the real need for recovery remains. This is where organizations such as the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay and other nonprofits come in. The focus of the Community Foundation is the long-term health and wellbeing of our local communities. To that end the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay has already set up a fund for Disaster Relief that will quickly and efficiently channel funds to local nonprofit organizations that are helping with and performing on-the-ground local recover efforts. If you wish to help your local community recover, donations to this fund are a great way to accomplish this. Go to CFTampaBay.org/disaster to give.