Hurricane Ian Recovery: How to Help

Updated Sept. 30 at 1:42 p.m.

As Florida recovers from Hurricane Ian, many of you may be looking for ways you can help with efforts across the state and region.

Volunteer Florida is the state’s lead agency for volunteers and donations before, during, and after disasters and serves as an excellent point of entry for relief efforts. Volunteer Florida’s Volunteer Connect platform helps match those interested in serving affected communities with partner organizations in need of volunteers. The Florida Disaster Fund, a part of the Volunteer Florida Foundation, distributes funds to local service organizations that will aid response efforts in affected communities.

The American Red Cross is a leading disaster relief organization, and the North Florida Region, specifically the Capital Area Chapter, are the local branches covering Tallahassee and Leon County. After a disaster, the Red Cross suggests community members make financial donations to existing disaster recovery efforts or donate blood to ensure the supply remains stable for those who need it. Learn more on the America Red Cross North Florida Region website.

Currently, the Disaster Action Team is among the highest-priority volunteer needs for the American Red Cross. Learn more about that role and how you can prepare to respond to the next disaster that arises, or submit your application, on the volunteer website.

Local Efforts

The Center for Leadership & Social Change will remain in contact with our campus and community partners. As more information becomes available, we will provide updates on volunteer and resource needs as requested by our partner organizations.

Second Harvest of the Big Bend is currently preparing response efforts. The most effective way for members of the FSU community to support those efforts is through financial gifts, food donations or volunteering for existing service shifts. Those interested in volunteering may sign up through Volunteer Hub and following the instructions provided.

Reminders from Volunteer Florida

After a disaster, the focus is on sending trained volunteers and those affiliated with organizations to assist with immediate needs. For those interested in helping, Volunteer Florida has some points to keep in mind:

  • Do not self-deploy for relief efforts: “For your safety and to support trained emergency response teams, please confirm with a disaster relief organization the need for volunteers and approval for your participation.”
  • Although many people are eager to help right away, it is important to remember that recovery can be a lengthy process: “recovery work continues for weeks, months and even years after disaster events occur. Organizations may have a significant need for volunteers in the weeks and months ahead.”
  • As their partner organizations assess needs and evaluate resources, they will begin to organize volunteer opportunities for unaffiliated (individuals who are not already connected to an organization) volunteers. These organizations will have their own processes for accepting volunteers.
  • Do your homework about relief efforts and avoid creating additional burdens in the recovery area:
    • Be sure to confirm that donations of items are actually needed. Financial gifts actually make the greatest impact for meeting specific needs while eliminating the burden of sorting, storing, or transporting materials.
    • Be sure to have a clear understanding of volunteer assignments, safety measures and points of contact. Know when and where your skills or help will be needed and how your basic needs will be met while you are there.