During times of disaster we all want to help our neighbors in need, and the recent hurricanes, wildfires, and earthquakes are no exception. United Way of North Carolina has compiled the following information about ways to help our neighbors who’ve been affected by these disasters.
The BEST way to help after a disaster like this is to make a financial donation to a trusted, reputable charitable organization. Financial donations are efficient, easy to use, flexible, and can be put to immediate use. They allow relief organizations to respond quickly to the most pressing needs, as well as to evolving needs as the disaster response progresses. Financial donations allow supplies to be purchased closer to the disaster, avoiding delays, transportation, and storage costs that often happen with material donations. Financial donations don’t require volunteers to spend valuable time sorting items that may not be able to be used.
Please do not donate goods such as used clothing, miscellaneous household items, medicine, or food unless a there has been a specific request for the item(s). When these items are donated, the helping agencies must redirect their staff away from providing direct services to survivors in order to sort, package, transport, warehouse, and distribute items that may not meet the needs of disaster survivors.
Financial donations to a United Way in an affected community
United Ways are closely connected to their community, and, along with their partners are a critical part of a community’s short and long-term recovery from disasters. Local United Ways can respond quickly to meet immediate needs as they arise, providing resources to first responders and other disaster response organizations to help with rescue and immediate relief efforts. Local United Ways also often coordinate a community’s response to a disaster, ensuring long-term recovery and rebuilding needs are met quickly and efficiently.
United Ways of Texas provides links to United Ways throughout Texas that are currently raising funds to aid Hurricane Harvey disaster recovery in their communites.
Hurricanes Maria and Irma and Mexico Earthquake
United Way of Florida has established a Hurricane Irma Relief Fund to support local Florida communities affected by Hurricane Irma. You can also find links to donate directly to a relief fund established by local United Ways in affected communities. View United Way of Florida's Disaster Relief Fund and links to local Florida United Way disaster relief funds.
United Way of Miami-Dade's and the Miami Herald/el Nuevo Herald's Operation Helping Hands helps those affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Maria, and Irma and the earthquake in Mexico recover and rebuild. 100% of donations will help local United Ways and other nonprofits on the ground in the impacted areas meet the disaster-related needs and support long-term recovery throughout the affected regions. You can designate your donation to go to one or more specific affected areas or where help is needed most. Donate to Operation Helping Hands Hurricane and Earthquake Relief.
United for Puerto Rico is an initiative brought forth by the First lady of Puerto Rico, Beatriz Rosselló, in collaboration with the private sector, with the purpose of providing aid and support to those affected in Puerto Rico by Hurricane Irma and Hurricane María. Donate to United for Puerto Rico
Fondo Unido México has established a fund for communities that have been affected by the recent natural disasters in Mexico. Donate to the Fondo Unido México Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund
United Way of the Wine Country and United Way Bay Area have formed a partnership to provide immediate and long-term recovery assistance to residents and community agencies in Sonoma, Napa, Solano, Lake, and Mendocino counties affected by wildfires. 100% of donations go directly to wildfire relief and recovery efforts. Donate to the Northern California Relief and Recovery Fund.
United Way of Ventura County, United Way of Santa Barbara County, the American Red Cross of Ventura County, and the Ventura County Sheriff's office of Emergency Services have formed a partnership to provide immediate and long-term recovery assistance to residents and community agencies in Southern California counties affected by wildfires. 100% of donations to the collaborative "Thomas Fire Fund" go directly to wildfire relief and recovery efforts. Donate to the Thomas Fire Fund.
Financial donations to United Way Worldwide's Disaster Relief Funds
United Way Worldwide has launched relief and recovery funds to support all local communities affected by the recent natural disasters. 100% of individual donations given to the funds will be used for recovery efforts in the affected areas. The national funds are not meant to replace local relief and recovery funds, but will complement local efforts.
Donations to organizations providing relief in affected communities
Donations may be made to Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) members who are providing relief efforts and assisting with long-term recovery and rebuilding efforts in communities affected by disasters. Contact the organizations directly to learn more about their relief and recovery efforts.
Donations of Goods
It is important to remember unsolicited donated goods (e.g., clothing, miscellaneous household items, and mixed or perishable foodstuffs) require voluntary agencies to redirect valuable resources away from providing services to sort, package, transport, warehouse, and distribute items that may not meet the needs of disaster survivors.
If you have goods that you believe will be helpful, National VOAD provides a form that you can complete to quickly inform VOAD agencies in affected communities about your donation so they can make arrangements to receive it.
National VOAD is asking people who would like to volunteer to not self-deploy, as unexpectedly showing up to any of the communities that have been impacted by the disasters can create an additional burden for first responders and long-term recovery organizations.There are volunteer needs for many months and years after disasters. If you feel the need to do something immediately, consider a financial donation to a relief organization or host a local yard sale or other fundraiser and donate the proceeds to a relief organization.
Volunteer Opportunities with United Ways
Individuals, groups, and organizations interested in volunteer opportunities in communities affected by the disasters should contact the United Way in the community they where they would like to volunteer.
Volunteer Opportunities with VOAD Organizations
Individuals, groups, and organizations interested in volunteer opportunities can contact state and territory VOAD member organizations directly or fill out a volunteer form with the National VOAD.
Please be patient after you register to volunteer - you will be contacted once public officials and disaster relief organizations have had an opportunity to assess the damage and identify what the specific unmet needs are. Volunteers will be needed in all affected areas for months and years.