Sockeye Fire relief organizations ask for end to in-kind donation efforts
Best ways to help now: cash, or gifts that 'pay it forward'
As organizations involved in the coordinated disaster response to the Willow-area Sockeye Fire move on to provide more focused services, they are announcing they do not need further in-kind donations for fire relief at this time.
Participating organizations-including The Salvation Army, Red Cross of Alaska, My House and Alaska VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters) -are asking that all in-kind donations for the Sockeye fire relief effort stop effective Friday, June 26.
The reason is a good one, said Jenni Ragland, Emergency Disaster Services Director for The Salvation Army Alaska: "We have a tremendously supportive community, so our existing needs for donated household items and consumables were quickly met or exceeded."
At this stage, the organizations encourage donations to funds they have set up to support the long-term needs of fire victims. "Cash donations are always best," said Ragland. "They provide flexibility when other resources are exhausted, and make it possible for us to assist with unmet needs and put families and individuals on the road to long-term recovery."
When the fire displaced hundreds, it inspired a broad response. Every agency involved had a unique role in the relief effort. For example, while Red Cross of Alaska established evacuee shelters, The Salvation Army Mat-Su Corps provided more than 1,380 meals using a mobile kitchen, as well as distributing nearly a thousand each of snacks and beverages
But now, relief organizations need to focus on the much smaller group of those left without homes. About 55 homes were lost in the fire.
Surplus goods received have been shared as follows:
- Consumable supplies such as paper goods, personal hygiene items and baby supplies, have been distributed through agencies in the Mat-Su Valley working with survivors.
- Food donations, not used during sheltering operations are being distributed to local food pantries, who will continue providing support as individuals move into temporary or return to permanent housing.
- Those wishing to donate clothing or household goods are being asked to "pay it forward," by donating such items as usual to the nearest Salvation Army Family Store, as these stores can issue vouchers, which allow those recovering from fire loss to shop for items as they are needed.
For any other donation inquiries, call Alaska VOAD at 907-428-7146.
For Fire Relief Assistance
For individuals in need of immediate assistance, the Red Cross Client Assistance Hotline: 907-357-6060 is available statewide.
The Salvation Army Mat-Su Corps continues to offer support on an individual basis for fire survivors at 907-745-7079.
HOW TO HELP
Phone: 1-800-RED CROSS
Online: www.redcross.org/Alaska (specify "Your Local Red Cross")
Text: the word AKFIRE to 41444
Mail: 235 East 8th Ave, Anchorage, AK 99501
Phone: 907-276-2515 or 1-800-276-5919
Mail: 143 E. 9th Avenue, Anchorage, AK 99501 ATTN: DISASTER RELIEF
At this time, not needed. For updates on in-kind donation needs, the public may call Alaska VOAD at 907-428-7146.
The Mat-Su Borough is maintaining a list of volunteers who will be contacted as needs are identified. To put your name on the list, email DisasterVolunteers@matsugov.us.
About The Salvation Army Alaska
In Alaska since 1898, The Salvation Army's ministry offers spiritual encouragement and basic services to meet the needs of Alaskans. The Salvation Army Alaska is one of the largest and oldest social service providers in the state, with locations in 17 communities statewide: Anchorage, Angoon, Cordova, Fairbanks, Haines, Homer, Hoonah, Juneau, Kake, the Kenai Peninsula, Ketchikan, Klawock, Kodiak, the Mat Su Valley, Petersburg, Sitka, and Wrangell. For more information, please visit: http://www.salvationarmyalaska.org.
As a member of the local, national and international network of the Red Cross Movement, the American Red Cross of Alaska is committed to providing relief to victims of disasters and helping people prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies. The American Red Cross of Alaska has offices in the following locations: Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau, Kodiak, Wasilla, JBER, and Ft. Wainwright. For more information, please visit: http://www.redcross.org/ak/anchorage.
MY House offers food, clothing, shower and laundry services, employment services, public health care, mediation services, help with legal issues and support and referral for mental health and substance abuse treatment. For more information, please visit: http://myhousematsuhomelessyouthcenter.com.
About VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters)
The Alaska VOAD is a coalition of nonprofit organizations that share knowledge and resources throughout the disaster cycle and respond to disasters as part of their overall mission. For more information, please visit: http://www.akvoad.org.