The men and women of the Los Angeles Fire Department have been deeply touched by those who have opened their hearts, homes and more to Southern California wildfire victims. As we begin to grasp the enormity of the disaster, there remains an opportunity for each of us to help those in need.
Sadly, in a heartfelt effort to help, many have spent time and effort collecting items that are truly not needed or cannot be delivered to or used by those in need.
While it may feel right to donate a truckload of blankets, make 500 ham sandwiches or clean out our closets of nearly new clothes the very best and most efficient thing we can do is fund and support established charitable and relief organizations.
In fact, this FEMA press release says it best...
"WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is urging those who want to help the people of affected by the fires in California to make cash donations to nonprofit organizations that are active in disaster work. A list of national organizations involved in disasters can be found at www.nvoad.org and at the Network for Good’s Web site at www.networkforgood.org
Officials also urged people who want to help to contact a registered relief organization to see if they can help through that organization. People going on their own to a disaster site can disrupt life-saving response operations. A good Web site to find organizations that are working in the disaster can be found at www.helpindisaster.org
Officials said that cash donations allow voluntary organizations to both obtain goods and services locally and for some to issue direct financial assistance to victims so they can meet their needs. They also allow agencies to avoid the labor-intensive need to clean, sort, package, label, and store donated goods. Donated money avoids, too, the expense of ground or air transportation that donated goods require.
Voluntary organizations provide a wide variety of services after disasters, such as clean up, child care, housing repair, crisis counseling, sheltering and food.
To find out what voluntary organizations are working in the impacted areas, and how to direct a cash donation to them, donors should go online to www.nvoad.org
FEMA coordinates the federal government’s role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror."
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Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department