Community Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Indiana stands ready whenever a disaster is declared anywhere in the United States with food, cleaning supplies, and disaster response expertise to work with emergency planning agencies when requested. Within minutes after news of the southern Indiana tornados last Friday, Community Harvest and all Feeding Indiana's Hungry (FIsH) food banks - those food banks associated with Feeding America - were engaged and preparing to be called into service. In disasters food banks are always on the ground and there to assist in the disaster response.
Currently the appropriate organizations are assessing the damage and will request supplies and deploy organizations and individuals as they see fit. While Community Harvest does not anticipate that CHFB disaster response trained staff will be deployed to the area, it is conducting a food and supplies drive to deliver aid to the affected area.
Following are items Community Harvest is accepting for disaster relief at this time:
Plastic tubs (for personal belongings)
Face masks (N95)
Paper products (all types: paper plates, facial tissues, paper towels, diapers, toilet paper, etc.)
Ready to eat food (pull tab tops, nothing that requires a can opener)
NO WATER, CLOTHES, SHOES, TOYS, BEDDING, ELECTROINICS, ETC. WILL BE ACCEPTED.
Please bring donations to the Community Harvest Food Bank NORTH building, located at 1010 N. Coliseum Blvd., Tuesday - Friday 9:00am -3:00pm. Drive around to the rear parking lot and park by the ramp. All supplies collected will be held to deploy as requested for the recent tornado disaster response efforts and/or used for future disaster response.
Financial donations can be made to any of the Feeding Indiana's Hungry (FIsH) food banks in the affected area. Visit the FIsH website for more contact information www.feedingindianashungry.org. Financial donations can also be made to the American Red Cross, the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, or the Salvation Army. Please note "Tornado Relief" in the memo line of the check.
"It is estimated that disaster relief efforts will go on for months and assistance will be needed long after this horrible event is no longer in the news," said Jane Avery, executive director, Community Harvest Food Bank. "We ask that individuals and groups who wish to help with relief efforts either make donations at our north building or wait until they hear or read a call for help from emergency planning organizations in the news and follow the procedures outlined. One of the most complex issues when dealing with disaster response efforts is coordinating the well-meaning individuals who come to the affected area unannounced. The result unintentionally adds stress and confusion to the recovery process and they, or the truckloads of supplies they send, are often turned away. It's not that they aren't appreciated, it's just that in a disaster situation, keeping a firm grasp on all efforts is critical in order for the recovery process to be effective. When I worked the Hurricane Katrina disaster, many times those who came down unannounced to help ended up being victims themselves because there was no place for them to stay, no gasoline, no food, etc. and truckloads of supplies that came were turned away because there was no place to store what they brought. There is plenty of time. When supplies, equipment, and volunteers are needed, the proper authorities will let the public know and with have specific procedures in place to follow, " said Avery.