Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): How to Help
After a disaster, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance receives numerous calls from congregations and individuals expressing concern and a desire to help. Following are some of the most frequently asked questions. The responses are general in nature, but are applicable for most disaster situations. Please give us a call or e-mail us to obtain answers to specific questions.
- How can we respond financially?
- Is PDA tax exempt?
- How can our congregation as a group or individuals volunteer to help in the disaster response?
- Can our congregation collect clothes, food, or supplies to send to the disaster area?
- Are any Presbyterian mission personnel affected?
- How can our congregation make Gift of the Heart kits or other kits to be used in the disaster relief efforts?
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance will always offer a way for congregations and individuals to designate funds to assist with disaster relief efforts.
Financial gifts can be made through your local Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) congregation or by mailing your check made to made payable to Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to:
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
P.O. Box 643700
Pittsburgh, PA 15264-3700
Information on the designated account numbers can be obtained by calling PresbyTel at (800) 872-3283 or by calling the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance office (800) 728-7228 x 5839. Gifts by cardit card can also be made through these methods.
Yes, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), A Corporation, is a federally recognized, tax exempt organization pursuant to section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Its tax ID number is 13-3462549. Receipts will be issued for charitable contributions made to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), A Corporation, for disaster-related or other mission work.
Communities which have been affected by disaster are very adept at helping each other. While most areas which have been affected by a disaster will need help from volunteers, the need for help will usually be after an assessment of need has been made, and a way to house volunteers has been established.
Please check our listing of volunteer opportunities or call (866) 732-6121 for a list of currently active work sites.
In most disaster situations, when material goods are requested, clothes are at the bottom of the list. There are several reasons for this:
- Limited warehouse space. In disaster situations, especially after a natural disaster such as a hurricane or flood, buildings which can be used for collecting and distributing relief items are usually being used to their capacity.
- Transportation cost and limited transportation space. There are standardized recommendations for the purchase of relief supplies in bulk and the bundling of supplies in units to allow the maximum amount to be loaded onto ships, planes, or trucks. It is difficult to include clothes because of the variance in quantity and weight, and also the difficulty of getting the appropriate clothes to those in need.
- Specific request of partners. Partner congregations or organizations know best the needs of the disaster affected community. In their disaster response plan, they draw up a list of very specific items which can be used immediately. The inclusion of other items requires valuable time in sorting through and determining the appropriateness of the items.
Review the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance Material Aid Policy.
If you have already collected items and cannot find a local mission project which can benefit from them, you might want to consider holding a flea market or other type of sale and sending the proceeds to Presbyterian Disaster Assistance using the designated account number for the specific disaster.
Whenever there has been a disaster in an area where Presbyterian mission personnel are stationed, staff from World Mission will be in touch with the mission personnel to determined their status. If any mission personnel have experienced undue suffering, information will be posted immediately.
During a disaster, use visit the Mission Connections website to see if we mission personnel in the affected country. This will enable you to pray by name, for our partners and mission personnel as they minister to others.
How can our congregation make Gift of the Heart kits or other kits to be used in the disaster relief efforts?
Gift of the Heart kits are an excellent “hands on” project for youth groups and other groups that want a tangible way to be involved. The most frequently needed kits in a disaster are the Health kit, Layette kit and School kit.