On Thursday and Friday governors and mayors were warning local residents in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic to get ready for Hurricane Sandy. On Saturday, those calls to action became louder: “This is a very serious storm. People will get hurt.”
By Sunday their message had changed again: “You need to hurry. Soon it will be too late.”
Today, with portions of many communities under siege from a dangerous super-storm, concerned folks from across the nation want to go volunteer and help out. Unfortunately it’s too late for those who want to respond now.
With the crisis at its peak, in most cases disaster response organizations like the American Red Cross are deploying the volunteers that they’ve been training for just this moment. Despite all your best intentions, you’d be worse than useless on the ground in Atlantic City or New York. You’d be in the way, making it harder for trained responders to do their job.
So what can you do if you want to help? There are two things:
1. Donate to an organization like the American Red Cross that is working on the ground to save lives and provide food, clothes, and shelter to those who’ve been affected. Click here to support the American Red Cross.
2. Get training where you live so that if disaster strikes locally you can help. A good place to start is our Disaster Response & Preparedness Map, which tracks such opportunities in real time. Click here to volunteer to get disaster preparedness training.
What Can Nonprofits Do?
Traffic to VolunteerMatch.org always spikes because of disasters. If your organization works to help people before, during or after disasters, there are things you can to do on our site to leverage this traffic for your mission:
After Irene: 5 Things Organizations Involved in Disaster Response Should Be Doing at VolunteerMatch
If you don’t work in disaster fields, you still have an obligation to get help your staff and constituents stay safe:
Is Your Organization Ready for Disaster Season?
Effective disaster relief begins with smart disaster preparedness. Use your money to help out now. Use your time to get the skills you need to help out in the future
What do you think? What are some other ways volunteers and nonprofit organizations can help with responses to Hurricane Sandy and other disasters?