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Effective Giving After a Disaster

At The Salvation Army of Chattanooga, we LOVE our donors.  They have helped us feed hungry neighbors and families, provide shelter on cold nights, serve and pray with the survivors and first responders during times of disaster.

We know that people want to give.  The best and most efficient way of giving during disasters is giving financially.

First, financial gifts allow us to be flexible.  On the first day of disaster relief effort, the need may be water and sunscreen for the first responders, but by day three the need may change to preparing food and providing clean up kits for the survivors.  The only way to meet these changing and challenging needs is to have the ability to purchase exactly what is needed at the time it is needed.  GH1

Second, disaster areas become chaotic in many ways. After a disaster incident, roads and other infrastructure can be badly damaged or closed off by the authorities, making it difficult, if not impossible, to send in trucks weighed down with supplies.  Floods can wash out roads; earthquakes topple buildings or damage bridges; hurricanes and tornadoes bring down power lines. Then, when you factor in the cost of trucking supplies long distance, it becomes far more cost effective to buy close to the disaster incident.

Disaster Relief2- April 2011 072

Third, when we buy locally we support the economy within and near the impacted disaster area and provide them with financial resources they will need to rebuild and recover.  This is critical!  The stores closest to the disaster site will struggle, especially if customers have limited access due to damaged roads and infrastructure.  We do a lot of good when we buy locally, and only financial gifts allow us to do that.

Lastly, overseas disasters are very challenging to support with anything other than financial gifts.  As mentioned earlier about the cost of shipping over land, the cost multiplies significantly when the shipping is by plane or boat.  Another added cost is the high cost of import charges and taxes.

As always, thank you for your gently-used furniture, appliances, household goods, clothing and other items!  They are ALWAYS in need at our Family Stores to keep supplies stocked all year long, but they are not typically accepted in relief of disasters.

The Salvation Army thanks you for your generous support.  If you have questions, please feel free to contact us.  May God richly bless you!

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