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Donations and Volunteers

Learn how to help by donating goods or volunteering after a disaster.

Donations and volunteers can be extremely helpful after a disaster, as long as they meet the needs of the victims, the Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOADs), and the government officials involved in the response. Unfortunately, donated goods and volunteers that are not specifically necessary can actually cause more confusion and hurt relief efforts. Coordinating donated money, goods, and volunteer efforts after a disaster ensures that survivors get help effectively and efficiently.  

Massachusetts residents can help those in need by donating and volunteering responsibly following an emergency or disaster. These donation and volunteer tips apply to disaster relief efforts within Massachusetts, across the country, and internationally.

The best way to help people after a disaster is to donate cash to a recognized disaster relief organization. Cash donations avoid the process of collecting, sorting and transporting donated goods. Cash donations may be tax deductible.

Cash donations allow relief organizations to:

  • fund response and recovery efforts
  • get goods and services and
  • give financial aid to survivors.

For a list of organizations involved in disaster response, visit the following websites:

  • Donate goods that are specifically requested or needed by recognized organizations. Contact your chosen organization before starting to collect or donate.
  • Make a food donation to a local food bank that may distribute food to those impacted by the disaster.

Volunteer

Get involved with a disaster relief organization before a disaster happens. They can provide the necessary training to help when a disaster occurs.

Don't self-deploy to a disaster zone. Local officials will give specific instructions about how to volunteer. You can also check with volunteer organizations to learn about opportunities to help.

Be patient. Sometimes the need for volunteers is greater during the recovery period.

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