Volunteer Florida coordinating support for areas hit by Harvey

As relief efforts continue for people in Texas who have been affected by Hurricane Harvey, the Volunteer Florida agency is reminding Floridians to consider the “3 C’s” before giving:

Cash: Financial support to established relief organizations is always the most immediate, useful, and versatile way to give. Financial assistance allows relief organizations to meet urgent needs quickly, an agency news release states.

Confirm: Confirm there is a need before collecting or sending donated items. Volunteer Florida encourages cash donations to disaster relief organizations.

Connect: Volunteers are a critical part of a well-coordinated and well-resourced humanitarian response, but potential volunteers should confirm that they are needed before traveling to impacted areas—do not self-deploy.

In addition, the Florida Division of Emergency Management also recommends making cash donations to a recognized charity because Texas officials have not yet identified any needs nor are they equipped to receive donations of supplies, Director Bryan Koon says in a recent release.

The Lake County Emergency Management Division reiterated many of those same points, emphasizing that cash donations are best at this time.

Donations may be made through the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (nvoad.org) or Texas VOAD, division manager Tommy Carpenter says in a news release. Members include a broad list of faith-based and nongovernmental organizations. Donors can scroll through and select the organization of their choice.

Do not send goods to the impacted area as clothes and other items are not being accepted, Carpenter says. If individuals or corporations do have supplies to donate, they may complete the online form and NVOAD will contact them to obtain the goods listed.

Carpenter adds that conditions in Texas are not conducive to support volunteers entering the impacted areas, but the need for volunteers is inevitable. Volunteer Florida is working collaboratively with officials in Texas to coordinate volunteer efforts from Florida. To volunteer and to see a list of established disaster relief organizations, visit txvoad.communityos.org/cms/node/104 or nvoad.org.

Lake County residents may ask questions or get more information by contacting Carpenter at 352.343.9420 or tcarpenter@lakecountyfl.gov.

As Florida’s lead agency for volunteers and donations before, during, and after disasters, Volunteer Florida is working closely with Gov. Rick Scott, the Florida Division of Emergency Management, and disaster relief organizations to support people who have been hit by Hurricane Harvey. 

Members of the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, and Florida Baptist Convention have dedicated resources to help families impacted by the storm, a governor’s office release states.

As of the start of the week, the American Red Cross had deployed 16 staff members to impacted areas; Salvation Army volunteers had two shower trailers, two bunkhouses, one generator, and 12 staff members staged at Baton Rouge, Louisiana; and volunteers from Florida Baptist Convention had feeding and chainsaw teams on standby for deployment to Texas.

Early Wednesday, Harvey, now a tropical storm, made landfall again, this time hitting southwestern Louisiana, according to news reports. Forecasters warned of potential tornadoes in northeast Louisiana and across southern and central portions of Mississippi. In Texas, additional rain overnight left shelters flooded.

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