When you feel compassion and want to give after a disaster strikes, you want to do it quickly so the money or goods can begin helping those in need immediately. Your gift in the wake of a disaster is powerful! Please react with intention. Pause and think through your options before donating. Doing this will make sure your donation has a significant impact.
FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO REPUTABLE ORGANIZATIONS
Following a disaster, it’s easy to see pictures or footage from the affected areas and want to give items to keep people clean and warm, or food to feed the hungry. But, in reality, money is the most effective gift. A monetary donation allows the charities working on the ground to quickly purchase the supplies they need to address the ever-changing needs of those affected. The Community Organizations Active in Disasters (COAD) promotes donations through gift cards and direct cash donations to support families and individuals in need and displaced. We additionally encourage supporting our local economy by purchasing gift cards from local restaurants and to support your local Community Based Organizations who provide local support services, as well.
PROFESSIONAL ASSISTANCE / VOLUNTEER ASSISTANCE
ASSIST WITH FOOD DISTRIBUTION
SOLICITED ITEMS (ITEMS REQUESTED FROM OUR COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS)
At some point after a disaster, there may be a need for specific items. These items differ with every disaster.
UNSOLICITED NEW ITEMS
Don’t donate physical goods unless they are specifically requested by organizations who know the needs and have the ability to distribute the items. This includes new AND used items that are not requested.
UNSOLICITED USED ITEMS
Victims of disasters need things. Just remember that things pile up and they need to be sorted, stored and distributed. For these reasons, it’s best to provide monetary gifts to relief agencies (even if you can only provide small gifts).
If you wish to donate used goods, drop them off at either the Good Will or Salvation Army sites. Both agencies have a voucher system in place for victims of disaster in Sonoma County.
UNSOLICITED VOLUNTEER ASSISTANCE
It is generally ill-advised to go into a disaster area on your own and attempt to provide aid. You run the risk of becoming a victim yourself. It is contingent upon volunteer coordinators to identify volunteer assets and allocate them in the best way possible to the overall disaster operation.
PLEASE CONTINUE GIVING AFTER THE MEDIA GOES AWAY
Disasters require rebuilding, and the need lasts a long time. They have lasting repercussions that require a real commitment of aid agencies. Don’t forget about the victims once the news turns to other pressing issues. Relief organizations need the flexibility to do their jobs well. Get in the habit of giving to your favorite relief charity frequently so that it can respond on time and adequately as emergencies develop.
In preparation for and in times of disaster, community members can look for a comprehensive list of solicited items from community organizations.
Agencies can post their requests through our matching portal (link in button).