Letter to the Editor on Hurricane Season by United Way President & CEO

Dr. Jennifer O'Flannery Anderson, Ph.D.
June 3, 2010

There are many Broward County residents still unaware of where to turn to support disaster victims or how to find help if they need help themselves. We want you to know that in the event of a hurricane or other disaster, United Way of Broward County (UWBC) is a part of the county’s official disaster response team.
 
The Broward County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is the official disaster response center for Broward County.  Broward County’s Emergency Management Division (BEMD) is primarily responsible for the management of all emergency preparedness program areas within Broward County.  UWBC operates as the lead agency for Emergency Support Function 15 with the EOC. As such, your United Way staff is responsible for overseeing recruitment and placement of volunteers and donations and we do so with the assistance of several nonprofit partners in the community, namely Volunteer Broward. UWBC employees participate in several training sessions to be ready and able to provide immediate support to the community, should we be impacted by a hurricane or other major emergency/disaster.
 
This year UWBC is providing an additional community communication resource for nonprofits to use during and after any upcoming disaster.  As part of our role in leading the nonprofit community’s disaster response, recovery and relief, we’ve launched Unite2Help.  This resource is a shared online communications link for non profits to communicate their own needs and to share their resources with others.  It also provides us with an immediate way to communicate critical information to our nonprofit partners who bear so much responsibility to serve our community in a time of need.
 
Immediately following a disaster, history indicates there will be large outpouring of individuals across the country looking to provide monetary relief.  United Way has developed a text-to-give option that allows people to donate to disaster relief by texting UNITED to 50555.  All donations will be directly invested in the most critical areas right here in Broward County.
 
In addition as our community responds and recovers UWBC, in partnership with the Community Foundation of Broward, the Jewish Federation of Broward, and other private-sector and non-governmental funders will collaborate to respond to community recovery needs. The local collaborative will review requests and distribute funds to meet long-term recovery needs in the event of community disasters.

Throughout the year, especially during hurricane season or in response to disasters such as the Deep Water Horizon Oil Spill, people who are interested in participating in volunteer efforts for disaster response are encouraged to register with Volunteer Broward at 954-233-1300 or www.volunteerbroward.org .
 
You can rest easy knowing UWBC and our network of non profit partners stand ready to serve. We are proud to work with Broward County and take very seriously the responsibility of lead agency for ESF 15.  And as always, UWBC encourages you and your family to be prepared and stay safe this hurricane season. You can learn how to be a volunteer following a disaster and find helpful resources at our website at www.unitedwaybroward.org.


By Jennifer O’Flannery Anderson, Ph.D.
President & CEO
United Way of Broward County

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