FEMA Accessible: Donating after a disaster (with ASL)





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Published on Oct 4, 2017

Zachary Usher, Branch Chief of FEMA’s Mass Care, Voluntary Agency Liaisons, and Community Services, talks about tips on how to best donate cash and/or supplies after a disaster with an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter.

Closed captioning is available in English, Chinese, German, Hindi, Italian, Khmer, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog, Thai, and Vietnamese.


Hi, I’m Zachary Usher, and I’m the Branch Chief for Mass Care, Voluntary Agency Liaisons, and Community Services.

After a disaster, people often ask, “How can we help? What can we do? What do the survivors need most?” There are many wonderful ways to show your support and generosity.

Cash donations are the best way people share their support, and this is the most common way to contribute to the disaster relief process. Organizations that help during a disaster know what and how much is needed to be able to support survivors as they begin to recover. They often buy supplies from local businesses to help support the local economy. When you make a cash donation, make sure that you are donating to a recognized and trusted organization.

If you prefer to donate supplies instead of making a cash donation, it is important to confirm with the organization what supplies are actually needed as critical needs change every day. They will tell you how to pack and label your donations, confirm where you can drop off your donations, and then arrange transportation for your donations to where they are most needed.

Please check with the organization you plan to donate to before starting to collect, because donating things that survivors do not need takes away valuable volunteer labor, transportation, and warehouse space. It is also important that you do not go to the disaster areas to help deliver supplies, as this could also interfere with the organization’s mission of supporting survivors.

There are many trusted organizations that will welcome new volunteers so you can help survivors directly. For more information about how to find a trusted organization to donate to or volunteer with, visit www.nvoad.org.

*Published October 4, 2017*

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