Emergency Preparedness


Any city can be affected by a natural disaster or emergency situation.  In the wake of tragedies like those in New Orleans in 2005 and Joplin in 2011, all residents should be informed about how to best volunteer and give back after a natural disaster or other emergency.

Everyone is moved when they hear the news that disaster has struck a community. By learning the best ways to donate and volunteer, we can all make a huge difference in the lives of those affected.


Donate Cash

The most effective way to donate is to give a financial contribution to a recognized disaster-relief organization. Financial contributions are the most needed and the most efficient way of helping those impacted by disaster. They allow organizations to fund response and recovery efforts, obtain goods and services locally, and provide direct financial assistance to disaster survivors to meet their own needs.

When the public supports these voluntary organizations with financial contributions, it helps ensure a steady flow of important services to the people in need after a disaster.

The following sites offer more information about donating:

Charity Navigator

National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster

National Donations Management Network



The generosity and kindness of people around the country can help communities heal from the tragic consequences of disasters. Volunteer with a recognized organization involved in disaster response and recovery today to be prepared for an emergency.

These groups offer a wide range of services:

American Red Cross of Greater Chicago

Chicago Medical Reserve Corps

Citizen Corps

Illinois Helps

National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster

Network for Good

Salvation Army



Donate Goods

The most important thing is to confirm what is needed BEFORE taking action!

Donate in-kind goods that are specifically requested or needed by recognized organizations. 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, house and distribute items that may not meet the needs of disaster survivors.

If you have a quantity of a given item or class of item to donate, and you need help in determining which organizations to give to, visit the following sites:

National Donations Management Network

United Way of Metropolitan Chicago