While it can be gratifying to send physical goods to agencies after a disaster, government and non-profit agencies have been clear-- the most immediately useful donations in the wake of Sandy are financial ones.
(PRWEB) November 12, 2012
With thousands still out of power and hundreds of thousands more beginning the process of cleaning up Hurricane-torn areas, there is still time for interested donors to make a difference, say non-profit disaster coordinators.
But the answer does not lie in shipping unwanted goods to affected areas, according to James McGowan, the associate director of partnerships at the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters. In fact, he called the massive influx of donated goods a "second disaster after the disaster," according to a Washington Times report from Friday.
According to McGowan and other relief coordinators, money is the most immediately valuable resource since organizations do not have to worry about paying to ship it to affected areas. Arranging for transportation and distribution of a single can of donated food can cost up to $25, McGowan said.
Some non-profit organizations, however, are rallying supporters to donate financially rather than in the form of goods. The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF), for example, has urged donors to give money to aid its relief efforts from Cuba to New York.
Displaced and out-of-power families in affected areas are especially in need of coats and blankets, according to a CBF update from last week. Unfortunately, according to CBF coordinators, it is too late for interested donors to send in actual coats and blankets while still leaving enough time for volunteers to distribute those goods. "Because time is so critical, DO NOT send us any goods in kind," wrote Charles Ray, the CBF US Disaster Response Coordinator.
So what is the alternative for interested donors in other parts of the country? Followme.org has begun a nationwide fundraising campaign on its website to raise funds for CBF relief efforts across the Northeast.
"Through this partnership, followme.org hopes to provide an avenue for interested donors to give strategically, securely, and immediately. While it can be gratifying to send physical goods to agencies after a disaster, government and non-profit agencies have been clear-- the most immediately useful donations in the wake of Sandy are financial ones," said Pastor Jamie of followme.org.
"A disaster like this is often the excuse for us to clean out our closets and send unwanted goods to desperate families. Instead, Sandy shows us that we have a real opportunity to provide financial resources for local community organizations to meet families' actual needs," he said.