Take the Right Steps to Make a Donation

AUSTIN – The Division of Emergency Management (DEM) has received inquiries from people who want to help those affected by the devastation in New York and Washington D.C. While this desire to make a donation to victims is noble and welcome, uncoordinated donations can become a disaster within a disaster.

People who want to assist should ensure their good intentions reach the correct recipients in the most effective manner.

The following are a few items people should keep in mind when donating to disaster victims:
Anyone wanting to donate to or volunteer to help those affected can call either the Salvation Army at (800) 253-1868, the American Red Cross at (800) HELP NOW or their local chapters. These agencies work with the Division of Emergency Management and local governments to provide assistance during disasters. They are in the best position to assure assistance is appropriate, adequate and delivered to the right places.

Consider making a donation in cash. Cash is a good contribution because it allows needed items to be purchased. The time it takes to sort, organize and redistribute materials can be used more effectively and items can get to the victims faster.

If you are not part of a disaster relief organization, spontaneous travel to an affected area to offer help or supplies is discouraged. Travel, lodging and food may not be available, and people traveling into the affected areas may end up unintentionally contributing to the problem.

People who wish to volunteer medical services should call the New York City Medical Volunteer Hotline at (800) 628-0193.

Rather than sending unsolicited items to the area, people should call the American Red Cross or Salvation Army or contact their local established relief organizations. These organizations are in the best position to know types of donations are needed, and they have the ability to ensure the gifts reach the intended recipients.

Following these suggestions will help assure that the right kind of help reaches those who need it most.