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Voluntary Organizations Play Vital Role in Recovery

Courtesy of MGN

After Louisiana was hit by Hurricanes Laura and Delta, volunteer and community partners responded to survivors’ immediate needs, providing meals and clothing, cleaning up debris and helping residents with their recovery.

Posted: Nov 18, 2020 11:35 AM

BATON ROUGE, La.– After Louisiana was hit by Hurricanes Laura and Delta, volunteer and community partners responded to survivors’ immediate needs, providing meals and clothing, cleaning up debris and helping residents with their recovery.
Organizations such as The American Red Cross, The Salvation Army and Feeding Louisiana food banks have provided more than 14 million meals. Community feeding continues through local parish organizations, faith-based groups and food banks such as Second Harvest.
Central Louisiana United Way has donated the use of a large warehouse to collect and distribute emergency relief supplies. Cleaning kits, water, food, diapers, face masks and hand sanitizers have been donated by national partners such Adventist community services and United Way of Southwest Louisiana.
Approximately 2,340 survivors continue to occupy hotels through the Non-Congregate Shelter Program managed by American Red Cross. There are five non-congregant shelters housing survivors in New Orleans, one in Baton Rouge and one in Lafayette. Nontraditional sheltering options for survivors include hotels, schools, dorms or other types of housing that keep each household separate from others. Nonprofits are supporting this operation by providing case management, assistance with transportation and aid with medical needs.
Immediate Disaster Case Management (IDCM), which is a FEMA Individual Assistance grant program, is a virtual call center with caseworkers who can provide additional one-on-one help for survivors to navigate recovery programs and identify resources.
Louisiana Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (LAVOAD) is a consortium of voluntary and non-profit groups dedicated to providing critical help to survivors and their communities in all phases of a disaster. Members include Consulting Partners, United Methodist Louisiana Conference, Lutheran Social Services Disaster Response and Samaritans’ Purse. These nonprofits meet regularly to discuss challenges in the community and find creative ways to collaborate to meet the needs of the survivors.
FEMA’s Voluntary Agency Liaisons (VALs) serves as the central coordination point between local, state, tribal, territorial, and federal governments and volunteer, faith-based, and community organizations—including coordination for volunteers, donations, and people providing disaster services. VALs play a vital role in FEMA’s mission and are often called upon to be FEMA’s bridge to the community. VALs also bring together the organizations to form Long-Term Recovery Groups, which are community-based organizations established in a disaster area to assist survivors to recover. These groups can provide manpower, materials, and money to assist survivors with their unmet needs to include home repairs/rebuilding, personal property losses and assistance with rent, utilities or deposits.

How You Can Help and Get Help
The following services and programs offer survivor assistance and volunteer opportunities:
Louisiana 211
Survivors seeking information about disaster-related services and unmet needs related to Hurricanes Laura or Delta can call 2-1-1, a statewide referral service, to find resources in their local communities. Resources include food, childcare, financial assistance, crisis counseling and Immediate Disaster Case Management (IDCM).
Volunteering and Donations
To volunteer in Louisiana, contact Volunteer Louisiana through their website at https://www.volunteerlouisiana.us/
To make a monetary or in-kind donation, contact Louisiana VOAD at louisianavoad@gmail.com
For the latest information on Hurricane Laura, visit fema.gov/disaster/4559. For the latest information on Hurricane Delta, visit gov/disaster/4570. Or, follow the FEMA Region 6 Twitter account at twitter.com/FEMARegion6.

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