The fastest way to help people affected by disaster is to donate money. The money can be used to purchase the exact goods and services needed for response and recovery. Several nonprofit voluntary organizations may be assisting people affected by the disaster. Contact the voluntary organization(s) of your choice to donate to a specific disaster. Find a list of organizations on the Minnesota Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (MNVOAD) website.
The local community (jurisdiction) affected by the disaster may set up a Disaster Donation Fund to accept contributions. Check out the jurisdiction's website or social media channels for details. Financial donations may be accept for an extended period. Whatever method you choose to donate money, be mindful of who is receiving the funds to be sure that they money is going towards the disaster response and recovery efforts.
Donations are often needed for long-term recovery. Some people affected by the disaster may lack insurance coverage, or there may be a gap between what is covered by insurance and the actual cost of repair or replacement. The local Disaster Donation Fund may be a good place to assist with filling that gap. Please note that the jurisdiction may use a different name for its fund.
Donation of Goods
It is very important to only send specific material goods that are asked for by the affected community or responding voluntary organizations. The community (jurisdiction) may post a list on their website or social media channels and open a Collection Center to receive the goods. Please send or drop off only what is requested to the Collection Center. Coordinate with the jurisdiction's logistics personnel before sending large quantities.
Please do not donate goods that you think may be needed.
Some voluntary organizations will accept donated goods. Contact them before you send or drop off items. The United Way at 211 (800-543-7709) may know of other groups that are accepting materials.
For your own safety, please do not self-deploy or just show up at a disaster site. You might slow down the first responders who are trying to help people who have been affected by the disaster.
There may be several opportunities to volunteer at a disaster site. The first option is joining a MNVOAD organization. More than thirty nonprofit organizations respond to disasters in Minnesota. Contact the organization directly to learn how you can join their team. Consider joining the team now so that you can be training and ready for the next disaster. Visit the MNVOAD website for a list or organizations.
The second option to volunteer occurs when the community (jurisdiction) requests help at a disaster site. Check the jurisdiction's website or social media channels for details. When you arrive, you will register at a Volunteer Reception Center and be given instructions for your shift. Wear sturdy shoes and cloths that can get dirty. Dress appropriately for the weather. Bring your own gloves, snacks, water, sunscreen, bug spray, sunglasses and a hat. If you are bringing a large group, notify the jurisdiction in advance.
A third way to volunteer is to joining a local Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), or another volunteer program listed on Volunteer Opportunities webpage.
Thank you for assisting people affected by disaster!