SEMINOLE COUNTY, FL (September 17,2018)—Seminole County Office of Emergency Management offers advice for effectively donating to victims of Hurricane Florence in the wake of the storm.
“During previous hurricanes, donated items were challenging to collect, sort, and distribute, while financial donations were used to provide critical commodities and home repairs for individuals with special needs, fixed income, and seniors.” said Alan Harris, Seminole County Emergency Manager.
Emergency Management suggests that the most impactful way to give is through monetary donations. This funding can be used to provide necessary services and can be leveraged to purchase necessities in bulk quantities. Monetary donations require less manpower to organize and ultimately, help the most.
When considering collecting and donating in-kind items, Emergency Management officials suggest following the simple guideline of allowing the responding organizations to “pull” needed items without “pushing” what donors may think is needed. Be skeptical of those suggesting “everything is needed.” Donation and collection drive organizers should consider the following:
· Connect with organizations working in the affected area to identify what is needed, how much is needed, and when it is needed. The right items, in the correct amounts, at the right time ensure area providers and victims efficiently receive supplies and services.
· Identify transportation to move the items from where they are collected to where they are needed.
· Know who will take possession of the items and how they will be used or distributed.
· Used clothing is never needed in a disaster area. Donate used clothing locally to an organization that has a year-round mission with used clothing. Or, consider selling used clothing at a yard sale and donate the money raised to a responding organization.
· Unsolicited, unorganized donated goods such as used clothing, miscellaneous household items, and mixed or perishable food items require assisting agencies to redirect valuable resources away from providing services to sort, package, warehouse, transport, and distribute items that may not meet the needs of disaster survivors.