Clanton, AL – When disaster strikes, people come together to help. That is a way of life here in Alabama.
Many volunteers have already given their time, money, and talent to help put Alabama back on its feet following the March 25-26 severe storms and tornadoes. As survivors of the storms move into the long and difficult recovery phase of this disaster, many more volunteers are needed.
“Local resources were able to help the impacted area immediately following the March 25th tornado. We are thankful that Calhoun County has a very active Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) group. Calhoun County VOAD was on the ground immediately after the tornado helping victims with immediate needs and will continue to be here until the recovery process is complete.” Said Myles Chamblee/Calhoun County’s EMA Director.
A VOAD is a coalition of faith-based, community-based, and other nonprofit organizations that are key to training and placing volunteers to help survivors after a disaster. If you want to volunteer to help your community recover, volunteering through an organization, already active in the disaster – like a VOAD, is the smart way to go. There are many tasks still to be done in the impacted areas of the state; cleaning up and rebuilding remains two of the biggest, along with roof tarping services, tree work and debris removal.
Everyone is welcome. Men and women from all walks of life are needed. High school and college students may want to help the community, and possibly fulfill a community-service requirement for graduation.
Volunteer manhours used for delivery of such services may potentially help offset the “local match” share of eligible federally funded public assistance projects.
To make the most of your help, FEMA and state officials say, it is important to do it right and follow these guidelines for donating and volunteering responsibly:
- To find a list of trusted organizations that can put your contributions of time or money to the best possible use, check out the Alabama VOAD online at https://www.alvoad.org/ or for the National VOAD go to https://www.nvoad.org/.
- Financial contributions to recognized disaster relief organizations are the fastest, most flexible, and most effective method of Learn more at https://www.nvoad.org/howtohelp/donate/.
- Cash is Cash offers voluntary agencies the most flexibility in obtaining the most-needed resources.
- Know before you go. A list of trusted organizations operating in Alabama can be found online at https://www.nvoad.org/volunteer/. These organizations know where volunteers are needed and can ensure appropriate volunteer safety, training, and
- Be Recovery in Alabama – and the need for volunteers – will last months, maybe years. Your volunteer help will be needed here when others may have long forgotten about the tornadoes.
For additional online resources, as well as FEMA downloadable pamphlets and other aids, visit www.disasterassistance.gov and click “information.”
For referrals to Alabama’s health and human service agencies as well as community organizations, dial 211, text 888-421-1266, or chat with referral specialists via www.211connectsalabama.org.