Hi, Natalie here. I want to post something important from the site Becca listed yesterday (http://www.illinois.gov/ready/Press/Pages/111713.aspx).
- DO NOT GO TO THE SCENE OF A DISASTER
- Due to the overwhelming response, there are far more volunteer offers than there are volunteer needs.
- The arrival of unexpected volunteers will interfere with response efforts.
- STAY SAFE by volunteering with a reputable agency!
- Volunteers will be needed most during the long-term recovery phase, which will last month/years.
- Please be patient and WAIT until relief agencies can train you and use your help.
Bolded emphasis mine. PLEASE remember that unexpected/unsolicited volunteers can often make things worse. We understand that everyone feels helpless and wants to do anything they can at a time like this to help, but it’s imperative that you wait until you’re contacted by a reputable agency to come out. Please don’t show up unannounced, and please don’t donate things that aren’t asked for. We spent hours yesterday evening going through bags of donated clothes, and while those will be very helpful for victims of this disaster, there were also many thing that won’t be helpful at all (for example, the many pairs of used underwear we had to sort through). There will be plenty to do, and work for everyone in the long term, so please be patient while we figure out where to place you. Thanks!