Goods and Volunteer Opportunities - Oklahoma

May 21, 2013

Oklahoma Tornados

BEFORE You Collect Donated Goods or Volunteer

• The most effective way for Americans to assist with relief efforts is to make a cash contribution to a humanitarian organization they trust.

Why Financial Contributions are Preferred:

• Experienced disaster relief agencies prefer the flexibility of cash donations because they avoid the labor and expense of sorting, packing, transporting and distributing donated items.
• Agencies use cash to meet disaster survivors’ specific needs more quickly, and money spent in disaster-impacted areas helps local economies to recover more quickly.

Make an on-line gift to the United Church of Christ: USA Emergency Fund

Confirm the Need Before Collecting:

• Relief agencies prefer the versatility of cash donations; however, some agencies have the infrastructure in place to store, transport and distribute donated items.
• To prevent waste, get precise information and confirm the need before collecting any donated goods. Items should only be donated to agencies that have requested them specifically.
• Be wary of anyone who claims “everything is needed.” While every effort to help survivors is appreciated, disaster workers do not have the time, people power or money to dispose of unneeded donations.

Assemble urgently needed: Church World Service Kits

Can I Volunteer in the Disaster Areas?

Volunteer opportunities in U.S. disaster settings usually fall into three categories/timeframes: immediate, intermediate and long-term

    Immediate volunteers tend to be live close to the disaster area and must be completely self-contained, able to get in and out of the disaster area the same day and provide for all their needs for food, water and equipment.

    Intermediate volunteer groups usually live w/in a day’s drive of the disaster area and come prepared to spend 2-3 days sleeping on the floor of a local church (with no guarantee of shower facilities), and providing for all their needs for food, water and equipment.

    Long-term volunteer groups generally spend one week at a disaster site once an ecumenical volunteer work trip program has been established.  

• In a community struggling to respond to and recover from a disaster, an influx of unexpected or unneeded volunteers and donations can make response efforts even more difficult.

• Some questions potential volunteers should ask themselves before entering any disaster area,
include:
__ Am I affiliated with a disaster-relief agency that can provide me with a specific mission and resources to accomplish that mission?
__ How will my needs for food, water and shelter be met?
__ If I am injured, will appropriate medical care be available?
__ Will language be a barrier to my effectiveness, and will local authorities recognize I am there to help?
__ Once I enter the disaster area, will I be able to leave?

Unitl Volunteer Opportunities become available in Oklahoma, please volunteer at: Previous Disaster Locations seeking volunteer groups.

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