The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has issued guidelines for individuals who want to contribute to relief efforts due to massive flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey.
FEMA says the most effective way to way to support disaster survivors is donate money and time to reputable, non-profit groups. Cash donations offer the organizations the most flexibility to address urgent needs that could change with evolving conditions. Needed resources can be obtained more easily near disaster locations with cash, which also pumps money back into the local economy.
FEMA advises against donating unsolicited goods such as used clothing. The agency says those items divert attention away from providing direct services because they require sorting and packaging before they’re delivered to survivors who could be in greater need of something else.
The State of Texas is also urging volunteers not to self-deploy, claiming that doing so simply creates an additional burden for first responders. FEMA Spokesperson at Kansas City, John Mills, says the agency concentrates on emergency needs for now but is preparing for long term recovery.
More than a third of FEMA’s 250 employees in Kansas City are working the call center or are in Texas.
Further directions on how to find a reputable, nonprofit organization through which to make a donation are at fema.gov.