No matter when or where a disaster big or small may strike, the American Red Cross stands ready to respond 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
Our ability to respond quickly and provide critical aid in affected communities is thanks to both the generous year-round gifts from donors, and careful planning so that we may turn that support into doing the most good for the most people.
Doing the most good begins with those who wish to help in times of need. This is why the concept of “smart giving” is something that all donors should consider in an effort to help all relief organizations be flexible and nimble in regard to disaster relief.
In an emergency, families require assistance immediately, and it is our goal to provide for their needs as quickly as possible. Having financial donations on hand before a disaster enables us to prepare supplies, trucks and workers ahead of storms rather than waiting and reacting after a disaster has arrived.
In the aftermath of a disaster, additional funds coming in help us to make decisions based on the specific needs of the community we’re serving. The needs of everyone affected are different – some need medications replaced, or specific medical equipment, food, shelter or a host of other things. Through our corporate partners, we’re able to collect donated supplies in bulk from manufacturers or purchase them at a very low cost, so we can be the best stewards of your donated dollars. This also allows us to purchase supplies and needed resources as closely to the site of the disaster as possible to help begin to rebuild and stimulate the local economy.
When considering giving to a disaster relief agency, please consider these four tips for smart giving, to help make the greatest impact:
- Donate cash to an established disaster relief organization, such as the American Red Cross. It’s the fastest way to get help to those who need it most.
- If you’d like to donate used or new goods, contact an established disaster relief organization that is serving the affected communities to determine whether there is a specific need and if the organization is equipped to manage the intake of donated items. Some well-intentioned yet inappropriate product, food or used clothing donations can actually overwhelm relief efforts by requiring resources for sorting and storing unneeded items. This is why monetary donations are the most effective means of support.
- Prior to delivering items to an established relief organization, call to determine the appropriate location and time for drop-off, as many have specific collection points.
- If you would like to organize a food or clothing drive, contact an established disaster relief organization to determine what is most needed in the affected community and how to ensure the donations are properly collected.