BATON ROUGE, La. – September 11 marks the National Day of Service and Remembrance enacted by Congress in 2009 to inspire Americans to engage in charitable activities. The observance was started after 9-11 to create one of the largest days of charitable acts with citizens coming together the way they did after the attack.
In Louisiana, voluntary agencies have been very active and will continue to provide a wide range of assistance to the many who have experienced damage, including flood debris clean-up, shelter, food, clothing, counseling, home repairs and reconstruction, and help for other unmet needs on a case-by-case basis. Louisiana disaster survivors can call 2-1-1 or visit http://www.louisiana211.org/ to request help with clean-up or other available services.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Louisiana Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (http://gohsep.la.gov/) partner with a variety of nonprofit groups to provide assistance to disaster survivors. These organizations have had a key role in the disaster response here. They are financed through charitable donations, not by the federal government, and their volunteers do much of the work.
FEMA’s Voluntary Agency Liaisons assist these volunteer, faith-based and community organizations with coordinating federal programs and managing resources. They can identify special-needs populations and help survivors avoid duplication of benefits. Liaisons also guide and promote long-term recovery to restore normalcy to the affected communities.
Volunteer agencies continue to help storm and flood victims in all affected parishes, regardless of their federal-declaration status. If you want to know more about the work of the national and local volunteer groups you may visit www.nvoad.org or lavoad.org.
Applying with FEMA is a separate process from registering with a volunteer organization. If you suffered damages and losses from the August 11-31 weather events you should apply for FEMA assistance as soon as possible. Apply at www.disasterassistance.gov or by calling 800-621-FEMA (3362) or (TTY) 800-462-7585. If you use 711-Relay or Video Relay Services call 800-621-3362 to register. You can find the FEMA mobile app at www.Ready.gov.