After disasters, the Champaign County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) often receives calls from those wanting to assist in some way. The Champaign County EMA is providing the following information out to the community to make sure donations and volunteers are coordinated.
Based on Florida’s Emergency Operations Plan (EOP), the state utilizes the Florida Governor’s Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service (commonly called Volunteer Florida) to coordinate donations and volunteer efforts.
The Volunteer Florida website https://www.volunteerflorida.org/serving-during-disasters/ provides information for those wanting to help in some way.
Cash is the most flexible and effective form of donation. To donate to the Florida Disaster Fund, Florida’s private fund established to assist communities throughout disaster response and recovery, visit the Volunteer Florida website or text “DISASTER” ($10) or “DISASTER25” ($25) to 20222.
If not donating cash, confirm that there is a legitimate need before collecting items and material donations. The Champaign County EMA encourage volunteers to affiliate with established organizations and ensure that they are needed before visiting impacted areas. Similarly, make sure to affiliate with an organization before sending items and material donations.
Volunteers are a critical part of a well-coordinated disaster recovery effort. To volunteer, visit the Volunteer Florida website and register on the volunteer database. Please be patient and do not self-deploy – organizations will contact qualified volunteers as soon as possible. For those with experience using chainsaws and heavy equipment, you can volunteer for route clearance efforts at Team Rubicon www.teamrubiconusa.org.
If you wish to connect directly with a particular organization, Florida’s plan lists many supporting agencies that assist with volunteers and donations. Among these agencies are:
ACTS World Relief
Adventist Community Services
American Red Cross
Billy Graham Evangelistic Association
Catholic Charities of Florida, Inc.
Christian Contractors Association, Inc.
Christian Disaster Response
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
Church of Scientology Disaster Relief Team
Church World Service
Convoy of Hope
Corporation for National and Community Service
Episcopal Diocese of Central Gulf Coast
Episcopal Diocese of Florida
Episcopal Diocese of Southeast Florida
Florida Alliance of Information and Referral Services
Florida Association of Food Banks
Florida Association for Volunteer Resource Management
Florida Baptist Convention
Florida Conference United Church of Christ
Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church
Florida Department of Elder Affairs
Florida Goodwill Association
Florida Presbyterian Disaster Assistance Network
Florida Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, Knights Hospitallers (OSJ)
Lutheran Services Florida, Inc.
Mennonite Disaster Services
Operation Blessing International
The Florida State Conference NAACP
The Salvation Army
United Way of Florida