During a Mutual Aid Disaster Relief mobilization, as a general rule, to discourage disaster tourism, volunteers are expected to fund their own way to the site of a disaster. We expect volunteers to get on site using their own finances, thereafter we may be able to provide reimbursements for supplies that you purchase or other similar expenses related to doing the work. We want our volunteers to feel empowered to meet critical emergent needs of disaster survivors, with the knowledge that Mutual Aid Disaster Relief will back them up. Get in touch with us at [email protected] or check in with a site coordinator to see if we can provide a reimbursement before making a purchase. Receipts are always required. We currently rely on small donations and have a shoestring budget so any private fundraising for individuals’ or affinity groups’ relief efforts is encouraged.
We recommend that you plan to come into any disaster situation as self-sufficient as possible. Many volunteers that have worked with us have their own vehicles that double as a place for them to sleep. Often we work with local churches, mosques, and other community centers to be able to have basic volunteer housing. Other times, camping or staying on a couch is the only option. We generally eat what we share with the community. If you have specific dietary or other needs, of course we will try to accommodate, but we advise you to bring what you need.
We meet sometimes formally, sometimes informally every day to discuss emergent needs and ways to meet those needs. It’s totally normal to be nervous your first time. But we want to be a welcoming community, and will help orient you.