Thousands Of Volunteers Provide A Helping Hand In Alabama

Release Date: June 3, 2011 Release Number: 1971-079

» More Information on Alabama Severe Storms, Tornadoes, Straight-line Winds, and Flooding

» 2011 Region IV News Releases

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Even as other disasters occur around the country, more than 126,000 volunteers from nearly three dozen organizations have helped survivors who were affected by the devastating tornadoes that struck Alabama on April 27.

Tens of thousands of volunteers who started working at the beginning of the storms are still active today, helping hard-hit individuals and families continue to put their lives back in order. New groups of volunteers continue to arrive every day to assist with the ongoing disaster recovery effort.

Voluntary agencies and faith-based groups have provided debris cleanup teams, chainsaw crews, childcare, laundry services, tree removal, home repairs, gutting, tarping, emotional/spiritual assistance and more than 1 million meals prepared and served.

But there is still a need for more volunteers in tornado-impacted areas of Alabama. Anyone with time to spare can call 2-1-1 for information.

“Given the scope of the disaster, it’s essential to our ongoing recovery that we have the kind and generous support of volunteers from across the country who are willing to come here and help,” said Jon Mason, director of the Governor's Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. “I can’t say enough about their efforts.”

GFBCI, along with 2-1-1 Connects Alabama, Alabama Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster and All Hands Volunteers operates the Alabama Recovery Coordination Center, which connects survivors who have needs with organizations that are directly able to help them free of charge.

“There are many organizations and faith-based groups in the affected communities that have active disaster programs and need volunteers,” said Michael Dillaber, president of Alabama Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster. “What volunteers do helps our neighborhoods heal.”

Alabama VOAD is part of the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, the primary point of contact for voluntary organizations in the National Response Coordination Center at Federal Emergency Management Agency headquarters. FEMA has voluntary agency liaisons in its Joint Field Office in Birmingham who work with voluntary agencies to coordinate their assistance.

Members of NVOAD form a coalition of nonprofit organizations that respond to disasters as part of their overall mission. The Alabama VOAD has organizations that are active in disaster response throughout the state.

FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362). For TTY call 800-462-7585.

The social media links provided are for reference only. FEMA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications.

FEMA’s temporary housing assistance and grants for public transportation expenses, medical and dental expenses, and funeral and burial expenses do not require individuals to apply for an SBA loan. However, applicants who receive SBA loan applications must submit them to SBA loan officers to be eligible for assistance that covers personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, and moving and storage expenses.