Natural Disaster Relief

Natural Disaster Relief

When a disaster happens, it can take months and even years for communities to rebuild. To make the most of your efforts to help, consider these tips for donating and volunteering:

Be Patient and Safe

Do not self-deploy in a disaster area. We know you want to help in any way possible, but it is best to wait until first responders announce that the affected areas are safe to enter and that volunteer opportunities are clearly defined.

Sign Up Before You Show Up to Volunteer

Find an organization active in disaster recovery and sign up directly with them. Note that capacity is stretched very thin during disasters. You can view a list of organizations accepting volunteers in times of disaster on the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster website (NVOAD) at Current Members | VOAD (

To volunteer locally with the Oktibbeha-Starkville Emergency Response Volunteer Service (OSERVS), contact Kayla M. Gilmore at 662.384.2200 or email to sign up. OSERVS welcomes volunteers of all ages to support its work. Whether helping with a fundraising event or pitching in with a disaster relief effort, there is a place for anyone interested in volunteering.

Donate Cash

What most communities need is money, not things. A cash donation to a recognized national non-profit or a disaster relief organization is an effective donation because it offers them the most flexibility in getting the most-needed resources. If you donate goods, organizations will spend time, money, and volunteer power to sort and store donations which can be problematic when storage facilities often double as shelters. For a list of major non-profits active in disaster relief, visit the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster website Current Members | VOAD ( to find an agency and donate. The Mississippi Secretary of State’s Office also is a resource for information on giving to charities. View more information at Check Your Charity.pdf (

Donate to the MSU Student Relief Fund

This fund, built with private gifts, supports students affected by any recent disaster. To donate or learn more, visit Mississippi State University Development and Alumni - MSU Student Relief Fund (

For those affected by a recent disaster, MSU Extension has information on disaster cleanup and repairs on their website at Disaster Response | Mississippi State University Extension Service (

For more information and additional ways to help those affected, visit the Federal Emergency Management Website (FEMA) at |