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How to help survivors after a disaster

Find out how to donate money or items to disaster survivors. Learn the best way to volunteer in person. And locate family members after a disaster.

How to donate after a disaster

You can donate money or physical items after a disaster. Follow FEMA's guidance on how to volunteer and donate. Send your questions about donations to FEMA at

Donate money

A cash donation is the best way to help after a disaster. It gives volunteers the flexibility to buy needed supplies in bulk. Donate to a trusted organization working at the disaster site. Find a disaster relief organization that accepts financial contributions.

Donate items

If you want to donate items, give them through a disaster relief organization or the government. They publish lists of needed items. When you make a donation, follow this guidance:

  • Only give items when they are requested.
  • Only give items that are on the list of requested items.
  • Do not send items directly to the affected area.

Donate blood

Blood donations are always needed, including after a disaster. Find a blood donation center near you.

How to volunteer after a disaster

To volunteer, register with an organization that was recruited to help. Do not go on your own. Wait until you hear from the organization. It will inform you if it chooses to deploy you to the disaster area. Search the directory of disaster relief groups to find one that matches your interests.

Volunteer with the Red Cross

The Red Cross provides relief after a disaster, including food and water. Search for volunteer opportunities with the Red Cross.

How to find loved ones after a disaster

If you are unable to locate friends or family members after a disaster, there are resources that can help.

  • - Get information about finding loved ones, unaccompanied children, and missing pets.
  • The Red Cross - Get tips for contacting loved ones through your local Red Cross or a Red Cross chapter that serves the area where the disaster took place.

LAST UPDATED: May 8, 2024


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