Volunteering and Donating in Alabama – Rise Above the Storm!
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – When disaster strikes, people come together to help. It has been no different in
Many volunteers have already given their time, money and talent to help put Alabama back on its feet
following Hurricane Sally. But as survivors of the storm move into the long and difficult recovery phase
of this disaster, many more volunteers are needed.
“Since Hurricane Sally, we have seen partnerships grow as we have welcomed the support of state and
national players into our community,” said Dana Jepsen, president of the Baldwin County chapter of
Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD). “The work is not done though. We still have a lot of
residents in need of assistance, and the recovery process is certainly going to be long term.”
A VOAD is a coalition of faith-based, community-based and other nonprofit organizations that are key to
training and placing volunteers to help survivors after a disaster. If you want to volunteer to work in the
Hurricane Sally recovery in Alabama, volunteering through an organization, already active in the disaster
– like a VOAD, is the smart way to go. There are many tasks still to be done in impacted areas of the
state; cleaning up and rebuilding remain two of the biggest, along with “muck and guts,” roof tarping
services, tree work and debris removal.
Everyone is welcome. Men and women from all walks of life are needed. High school and college
students, in particular, may want to look at this as a way to assist their neighbors and their community, but
also as a means of fulfilling their community-service requirement for graduation.
“It is amazing what can be accomplished when groups from different walks of life work together to
complete a goal,” said Alabama VOAD President Lana Mummah. “That goal has been to get families
back on their feet.”
In the first five weeks following Hurricane Sally’s landfall, organizations associated with Alabama
VOAD provided survivors with more than 1.1 million meals, beverages and snacks, 1,292 tarps, 48 house
mud outs, 445 chainsaws, and other supplies and services. Some 3,780 clean-up calls were completed and
3,903 clean-up kits were distributed. More than 76,000 volunteer hours have been donated.
Volunteering and Donating in Alabama – Rise Above the Storm! – Page 2
“I am personally amazed that people from across our country will take their vacations, often at their own
expense, leave their families and assist strangers,” said Michael Dillaber, president of the Mobile County
VOAD. “America is great because of our willingness to volunteer.”
Volunteer manhours used for delivery of such services may potentially help offset the “local match” share
of eligible federally funded public assistance projects.
To make the most of your help, FEMA and state officials say, it is important to do it right and follow
these guidelines for donating and volunteering responsibly:
• To find a list of trusted organizations that can put your contributions of time or money to the best
possible use, check out the Alabama VOAD online at https://alvoad.communityos.org/cms/ or for
the National VOAD go to https://www.nvoad.org/.
• Financial contributions to recognized disaster relief organizations are the fastest, most flexible and
most effective method of donating. Learn more at https://www.nvoad.org/howtohelp/donate/.
• Cash is best. Cash offers voluntary agencies the most flexibility in obtaining the most-needed
• Know before you go. A list of trusted organizations operating in Alabama can be found online at
https://www.nvoad.org/volunteer/. These organizations know where volunteers are needed and can
ensure appropriate volunteer safety, training and housing.
• Be patient. Recovery in Alabama – and the need for volunteers – will last months, maybe years.
Your volunteer help will be needed here when others may have long forgotten about Hurricane
FEMA’s mission: Helping people before, during, and after disasters.