"We're encouraging people to give to organizations they're already familiar with," said Paul Robinson of Rivernet Inc., a local nonprofit disaster coordination group that formed after the 1997 New Year's Day Flood.
Donors tempted to send physical supplies such as water, food or clothing should resist the impulse, said Robinson
Often, disaster management agencies are forced to spend time, energy and money coping with well-intentioned but unwanted donations.Sometimes, the donations aren't particularly thoughtful, he
added.In the past, people have sent piles of dirty, ragged winter clothing to hurricane victims broiling in summer heat, for instance.
"In the business of disaster work, they call the donation do-gooder cycle 'the second disaster,'" Robinson
said."Unless there's an identifiable delivery system and a clear need, give cash."
The impact of Hurricane Katrina highlights the need for a local agency dedicated to coordinating the efforts of volunteer agencies and individuals during a disaster, he
In October, Rivernet Inc.
will launch RVCOAD: the Rogue Valley Community Organization Active in a Disaster.Modeled on similar national entities, the agency will work to meet emergency and long- term needs not covered by government or other social service groups.
Representatives from several area churches, nonprofit groups and Jackson County's
emergency response team are involved in the effort.
Interested people can contact Robinson