There are many ways to lend a hand after a disaster occurs. These are some options:
If you have supplies or services you want to donate during a disaster, get in touch with an organization that is providing relief services locally such as churches, a food bank, or non-profit organizations that are temporarily assisting during the immediate aftermath of the disaster.
Reach out to the organization directly to see which items are needed the most. Some ideas include: water bottles, canned food, new underwear, new socks, clothing, hygiene items, free laundry services, meal delivery, temporary housing, and free showers.
Monetary donations are essential for funding organizations. A lot of money gets spent delivering supplies, transporting relief crews, feeding the affected populations, administrative services, and many other tasks. Donations made to non-profit organizations are tax deductible for U.S. taxpayers— I’m not sure about other countries.
I highly recommend researching the organization you want to donate to before making a financial investment. In my experience, I want the assurance that my donations are being used largely for relief efforts and not solely for administrative purposes.
Donate your time: volunteer
Volunteering is one of the best ways to show your support to a hurting community. Volunteers are a crucial element for the advancement and success of relief and recovery efforts. If traveling or taking time off of work is not an option for you, there may be ways for you to help from the comfort of your home.
Below, we’ve provided you with a comprehensive list of government and non-profit organizations that dedicate themselves to helping the greater good in times of crisis.
You can also check out websites like Great Nonprofits, Guidestar, Relief Web, and All For Good. These search engine sites allow you to filter volunteer opportunities based on location and services needed.
Disaster relief organizations
The beautiful thing about people is that each one has unique talents, gifts, and callings. When we think of volunteering, we immediately think of getting our hands dirty, but we forget the behind-the-scenes duties that it takes to run a disaster relief operation.
If you’re considering to help out after a disaster, consider the many opportunities that are available to you. Regardless of age, abilities, preferences, and time, your help will always make a difference! These are some ideas:
- Clean-up: Post-disaster recovery oftentimes begins with the removal of debris and the rebuilding of homes.
- Food service: Food is always needed and cooks are always in demand. Having experience in food preparation and distribution is a great skill to have.
- Provide emotional support: Disasters are extremely traumatic and devastating. Some people may need to vent their frustration, sadness, and anger, or simply cry. Becoming a listening ear for those people is truly priceless. Faith-based organizations may also encourage you to pray for people.
- Administrative assistance and social media: If you enjoy working in administration or an office setting, you may find many opportunities in this line of work. Promoting an organization through their social media profiles is crucial to reaching out to volunteers and financial partners.
- Fundraising and organizing donations: If you’re skilled at organizing, this could be an ideal position for you!
Most of the organizations listed below are based in the United States. Organizations that have operations both in and outside of the United States are marked with an asterisk (*).
U.S. Government organizations
- Citizen Corps and CERT: Community Emergency Response Team
- NVOAD: National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster
- COAD: Community Organizations Active in Disaster
- State Service Commissions — A state-by-state listing of volunteer services
- Medical Reserve Corps
- National Neighborhood Watch
- Samaritan’s Purse*
- Crisis Response International*
- Starlight Disaster Relief
- Iris Relief*
- Operation Blessing*
- World Relief*
- Salvation Army
- Baptists on a Mission
- Cross International*
- Catholic Relief Services*
- Catholic Cherities
- NECHAMA Jewish Response to Disaster
- United Methodist Committee on Relief*
- Southern Baptist Disaster Relief
- Presbyterian Disaster Assistance
- Nazarene Disaster Response
- Mennonite Disaster Services
- Brethren Disaster Ministries*
- Adventist Community Services Disaster Response
- Church World Service*
- Team Rubicon*
- Citizens Assisting Citizens
- Red Cross*
- All Hands and Hearts*
- Direct Relief*
- Remote Area Medical USA*
- World Central Kitchen*
- SBP USA
- Feed the Children
- Mercy Corps*
- Search and Rescue Assistance in Disasters* (Based in England)
- NASAR: National Association for Search and Rescue