“We have people calling in like crazy wanting to volunteer,” said Katie Powell, public information officer for the St. Clair County Emergency Management Agency.
Powell said the names are on a standby list.
“We take their name and number and any kind of experience they have and we keep them on standby,” she said.
The state EMA has multiple options for those wishing to volunteer help. Alabama’s Statewide 2-1-1 Volunteer Call Center is a 24/7 volunteer and donations hotline that provides an opportunity for people to connect to available volunteer and donation options. By calling 2-1-1 (in the state of Alabama or toll free 1-888-421-1266) or visiting www.servealabama.gov, individuals can register to volunteer or provide a financial donation to the Governor’s Emergency Relief Fund.
All volunteers not affiliated with an organization should register with 2-1-1, according to a release. Once registered, volunteers will receive notifications of volunteer opportunities across the state.
The Governor’s Office of Faith Based and Community Initiatives is overseeing the statewide volunteer response effort and offered the following suggestions for volunteers in a press release:
• Financial contributions are preferred: This allows relief organizations to purchase exactly what items are needed to assist in the response and recovery efforts. Funds will also provide direct victim assistance.
• Confirm the need before collecting: Donors should be wary of anyone who claims that “everything is needed.” Many groups have been disappointed that their efforts and the goods they collected were not appreciated. A community hit by disaster, however, does not have the time, manpower or money to sort and dispose of unneeded donations. Get precise information and confirm the need before collecting any donated goods or used clothing. Get precise information and confirm the need before collecting any donated goods or used clothing.
• Volunteer Wisely to Help Others: In a community struggling to respond to and recover from a disaster, an influx of unexpected or unneeded volunteers and donations can make the process even more difficult. The best way to volunteer if you are not affiliated with an organization is to call 2-1-1 in Alabama, toll free 1-888-421-1266, or servealabama.gov. In local areas you can visit your regional Volunteer Reception Center. A list of VRCs is available on servealabama.gov. Discuss with volunteer organizers how your needs for food, water and shelter will be met while you are volunteering.
Contact Will Heath at email@example.com.