Cherokee County Emergency Management Coordinator Ben Shuberg has released the following advice for people wishing to donate relief items to the survivors of the recent national disaster in Joplin, Mo.
Shuberg stated, "This might be of interest to people in the community wondering how to help in Joplin. I know some local organizations were trying to get things together to bring down there, and I know they have the best intentions, but it usually causes more problems in events of this magnitude. Right now cash is needed, not truckloads of other items."
He also provided a FEMA request that states:
A second disaster threatens to overtake Joplin, Mo. by way of a tidal wave of unsolicited goods (things like clothing, miscellaneous household items, mixed or perishable foodstuffs, diapers...) and volunteers whom just show up to help.
Critical resources are being redirected from the important work of response and relief to managing what has become a crush of unneeded donated items.
Social networking sites are promoting collection drives while radio stations, small and large businesses, business and fraternal organizations and churches around the country fill semis with items that threaten to crowd warehouses and overwhelm distribution channels in the impacted area.
Your help is urgently needed to stem the flow of unneeded goods and volunteers into Joplin. You are encouraged to reach out to your employees, customers and other constituents on how those wanting to help can do so in a way that doesn't cause further impact, but rather aids in the response and recovery effort.
The following guidelines were developed by a coalition of government, voluntary agency and faith-based partners:
* Cash to a recognized voluntary agency is the single best way to help disaster survivors. Cash doesn't need to be sorted, stored or distributed, and it allows the voluntary agency to the donation towards the needs that most urgently need addressing.
* Visit sema.dps.mo.gov/recover/donations.asp to donate to the Missouri tornado recovery effort.
* For information on other ways to help go to: www.fema.gov/rebuild/recover/howtohelp.