Civic Engagement & Service

Disaster Relief Resources

When disaster strikes, Bulls come together to help. 

This page contains resources to help those looking to contribute to relief efforts following major disasters. To make the most of your contributions, consider these FEMA tips for donating and volunteering responsibly.

Find Volunteer Opportunities

New volunteer opportunities are posted under Service Opportunities as we learn of needs and receive requests from community partners. Organizations who would like to submit a volunteer opportunity can do so by completing our Volunteer Request Form. Follow the Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement’s Facebook page to get up to date information from campus and community partners supporting relief efforts.

Untrained volunteers should not self-deploy to the scene of a disaster. Wait until a need has been identified and the local community impacted has requested support. Sign up to volunteer and wait to travel until opportunities have been identified. Once assigned a position, make sure you have been given an assignment and are wearing proper safety equipment for the task.

Become Disaster Trained

The USF Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) is a student organization adaptation of the FEMA program and a part of USF's Disaster and Humanitarian Relief (DAHR) Student Collaborative. CERT is operated by students, faculty, and staff at USF who receive both the CERT Basic Training as well as advanced training in specific areas to maximize our effectiveness. DAHR provides members with a unique experience by combining opportunities in research, philanthropy, and hands on emergency preparedness under one organization. The mission of DAHR is to encourage students with similar interests to collaborate and work together to reach common goals through research and philanthropy. For more information on USF DAHR, visit USF Disaster Management's Facebook page. USF Students can view DAHR on BullSync by clicking here.

Make a Financial Donation

Emergency management and disaster relief experts stress that monetary contributions to established relief agencies are always the best ways to help immediately following a disaster. When the people support voluntary organizations with financial contributions, it helps ensure voluntary organizations can fund response and recovery efforts, obtain goods and services locally, and provide direct financial assistance to disaster survivors to meet their own needs.

If you are unsure where/how to give financially, check out these helpful resources:

Center for International Disaster Information Guidelines for Giving

National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster 

Federal Trade Commission Consumer Information

Give Blood

To find a donor center or Big Red Bus near you, visit oneblood.org.

Consider a Donation Drive

Immediately following a disaster, a community can become easily overwhelmed by the amount of generous people who want to help. Due to the vast amount of donation drives that take place after a disaster and the logistical challenges involved with delivering supplies to hard hit areas, we recommend students interested in collecting and donating items work directly with legitimate relief organizations in impacted areas to organize drives or support an existing donation drive. Contacting and affiliating with an established organization will help to ensure that you are appropriately trained to respond in the most effective way. Remember, unsolicited donated goods such as used clothing, miscellaneous household items, and mixed or perishable foodstuffs require helping agencies to redirect valuable resources away from providing services to sort, package, transport, warehouse, and distribute items that may not meet the needs of disaster survivors.

·BEFORE Collecting:  Connect with organizations working in the affected area to identify WHAT is needed, HOW MUCH is needed, and WHEN it is needed.  The right items, in the correct amounts, at the right time.

·BEFORE Collecting:  Identify transportation to move the items from where they are to where they are needed.

·BEFORE Collecting:  Identify who will take possession of the items and how they will be used or distributed.

·Used clothing is never needed in a disaster area.  Donate used clothing locally to an organization that has a year round mission with used clothing.  Or sell used clothing at a yard sale and donate the money raised to a responding organization.

·Unsolicited, unorganized donated goods such as used clothing, miscellaneous household items, and mixed or perishable foodstuffs require helping agencies to redirect valuable resources away from providing services to sort, package, warehouse, transport, and distribute items that may not meet the needs of disaster survivors. For more tips, read 10 Worst Things to Donate by HowStuffWorks.  

“How to Help” Hurricane Michael Resources

Search “hurricane” under Service Opportunities in BullSync to find volunteer opportunities related to Hurricane Michael. New volunteer opportunities are posted as we learn of needs and receive requests from community partners. Organizations who would like to submit a volunteer opportunity can do so by completing our Volunteer Request Form.

The Tampa Bay Times has compiled a list of Donation Drives in the Tampa Bay area assisting with Hurricane Michael relief.

The CLCE is compiling information about additional donation drives as we learn of them. This resource can be found here.

The Weather Channel has also provided a helpful guide for How to Help Those Impacted by Hurricane Michael

 

“How to Help” Hurricane Maria Resources

World Vision 2017 Hurricane Maria: Facts, FAQs, and How to Help

Foundation for Puerto Rico Hurricane Maria Relief Fund

CLCE and Campus Recreation PUERTO RICO SERVICE ADVENTURE TRIPS

In spring 2018, the CLCE and Campus Recreation partnered to create the Puerto Rico Service Adventure trip program. The initiative was a collaboration of the Outdoor Adventure and Bulls Service Breaks programs, designed for students who have a passion for nature and outdoor education who wanted a way to serve Puerto Rico. In May, a team of students and staff spent a week in Puerto Rico to help the island rebuild from the devastation caused by hurricane Maria. We worked in El Yunque, the only tropical National Rain Forest in the National Forest Service system, and Hacienda Tres Angeles, a family owned organic coffee farm, where we rebuilt trails and replanted crops that were devastated from the storms. We met with the Foundation for Puerto Rico and learned about their important work to regenerate the tourist economy and met with students from local universities to learn about their experiences and how we can support recovery efforts. Throughout the trip experience, we learned how tourism contributes to the local economy and enjoyed many beautiful amenities of the island. We strengthened existing relationships with community partners and built new partnerships that will provide sustainable opportunities for the USF community to continue to assist Puerto Rico with long term recovery.

Our next trip will take place December 9-15, 2018. Our goal is to support student volunteers traveling to assist with long-term recovery in Puerto Rico during winter, spring, and summer breaks for the next several years.

View the Puerto Rico Service Adventure Trip May 2018 photo album here

If you have any questions about this program, please contact Melissa Pennell, Bulls Service Breaks Global Liaison.  

Additional Organizations and Resources:

The American Red Cross

FEMA Training

National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster

Team Rubicon

USF System Hurricane Guide

Alternative Service Breaks: Our Role in Disaster Recovery

A New Understanding of Rebuilding: Lessons from New Orleans