Operation USA, Disaster Agencies Scramble to Respond to Unprecedented Relief Needs

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Los Angeles-based non-governmental agency implores public to donate while responding to five major disasters within three weeks

The public must open their hearts and their wallets and give as often and as generously as possible to help all our neighbors in need. We implore everyone to please help relief and recovery efforts however you can at this time."

Operation USA, a Los Angeles-based international relief organization, today issued a plea to the public for donations after a record-breaking five major disasters have impacted areas of the United States and Mexico in three weeks. The organization is calling the current scale of devastation and needs for disaster survivors “unprecedented,” and is seeking individuals, foundations and corporate partners to provide support.

Operation USA responds to disasters with the shipment of material aid—including items such as hospital equipment, medical supplies, relief kits, cleanup and sanitation items, water purification supplies and power equipment—and the distribution of funding to community-based organizations to aid in reconstruction and the re-establishment of services and infrastructure. The agency also works with partners to develop long-term recovery projects supporting health and education--focusing on overlooked and under-served areas and prioritizing programs helping children and families recover, build resiliency and thrive. Since 1979, Operation USA has delivered $400 million in aid to 100 countries. Never before has the organization responded to so many disasters simultaneously.

“In our nearly 40 year history, we have never seen anything like this,” said Richard Walden, CEO, Operation USA. “So many disasters in such a short time span has overwhelmed our resources and strained our capacity to respond everywhere we’re needed. At OpUSA—and all disaster relief agencies—needs at this time are unprecedented and urgent. The public must open their hearts and their wallets and give as often and as generously as possible to help all our neighbors in need. The devastation in Texas, Florida, Mexico and now Puerto Rico is extensive and heartbreaking. Recovery is going to take years. We implore everyone to please help relief and recovery efforts however you can at this time.”

In Texas, OpUSA staff and volunteers are currently on the ground assessing damage and distributing funds to hurricane impacted families. Three truckloads of relief materials were also shipped to the area for distribution in impacted communities. In Florida, OpUSA is vetting partners and assessing opportunities to provide aid. Two truckloads of relief materials are also staged for shipment to the state. In Mexico, the organization is calling on long-standing partners to facilitate the distribution of both material aid and funding after two major earthquakes shook the country. OpUSA today confirmed it is also planning to deliver relief aid to Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria.

Donations to Operation USA for a specific cause are always allocated fully to that cause and are never moved into a general fund or held back for future disasters. The organization has a 4-star rating on charity watchdog site CharityNavigator.com, and prides itself on maintaining minimal overhead costs to ensure all gifts go directly to the cause for which they are intended. Operation USA has also been recommended by the BBB as a trustworthy charity for disaster response donations. Full financials and annual reports are available for review at opusa.org.

HOW TO HELP:
Donate online at give.opusa.org, by phone at 1-800-678-7255 or, by check made out to Operation USA, PO BOX 36188, Los Angeles, CA 90036-0188. Donations can also be made via text message: text AID to 50555 to donate $10. Text donations are collected for the benefit of Operation USA by the mGive Foundation and subject to the terms found at http://www.mGive.org/t.

Corporate donations supporting recovery and rebuilding efforts — bulk quantities of disaster-appropriate supplies, transportation and shipping services, shelter, power generation, water purification and medical supplies — are also being requested. Contact info(at)opusa(dot)org for more info.

United Airlines miles can be donated to Operation USA through United Airlines Charity Miles program at http://www.united.com.

About OPERATION USA:
Founded in 1979, Operation USA supports health and education programs in order to help children and families at home and abroad recover from disasters. Focusing on under-served and overlooked communities, and working with partners around the world, OpUSA empowers communities to recover, build resiliency and thrive. Learn more at http://www.opusa.org.

Richard Walden, President and CEO of Operation USA, is available as an expert source on disaster recovery.

PRESS CONTACT:
Mary Dolan
Operation USA
mdolan(at)opusa(dot)org
323.413.2353

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Mary Dolan
Operation USA
+1 (323) 413-2353
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Operation USA
since: 07/2009
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