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Congressman Jim Costa

Representing the 16th District of California

How to Help the Survivors of Hurricane Sandy

Oct 30, 2012
In The News

How to Help the Survivors of Hurricane Sandy

Those of us who enjoy living in the San Joaquin Valley are spared from many of the weather-related challenges that affect other regions of the country, such as the hurricane-related catastrophe that has hit the East Coast, especially the states of New Jersey and New York. While we are not directly impacted, we may have family members, friends and acquaintances who have been affected, and our hearts go out to them. Valley residents are generous and as the recovery and clean up begins along much of the East Coast, we know that people across the country are asking what they can do to offer to aid their fellow Americans. As much as some Valley residents would like to be there in person to help, much-needed assistance can be provided in several ways.

FEMA offers this list of suggestions:

  • Donate through a trusted organization. At the national level, many voluntary, faith, and community-based organizations are active in disasters, and are trusted ways to donate to disaster survivors. In addition to the national members, each state has its own list of voluntary organizationsactive in disasters. If you’d like to donate or volunteer to assist those affected by Sandy, these organizations are the best place to start.
  • Give blood. Numerous blood drives have been canceled as a result of the storm and the Red Cross has a need for blood donations. To schedule a blood donation or for more information about giving blood or platelets, visit or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
  • Affiliate with existing non-profit organizations before coming to the disaster area. Immediately following a disaster, a community can become easily overwhelmed by the amount of generous people who want to help. Contacting and affiliating with an established organization will help to ensure that you are appropriately trained to respond in the most effective way.
  • Cash is the most efficient method of donating. Cash offers voluntary agencies the most flexibility in obtaining the most-needed resources and pumps money into the local economy to help businesses recover. Remember, unsolicited donated goods such as used clothing, miscellaneous household items, and mixed or perishable foodstuffs require helping agencies to redirect valuable resources away from providing services to sort, package, transport, warehouse, and distribute items that may not meet the needs of disaster survivors.
  • Be patient. Recovery lasts a lot longer than the media attention. There will be volunteer needs for many months, often years, after the disaster - especially when the community enters the long-term recovery period.

For more information, check out this volunteering resource page from FEMA.