I spoke with Nancy Roth-Roffy of the United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County in Texas earlier this afternoon. Her office in San Antonio is handling the tremendous influx of refugees coming from the disaster stricken areas in the afflicted tri-state region. Her office is taking on a massive effort, so donations need to be as organized as possible.
The problem with large amounts of material goods being donated is that the evacuees are living in very close quarters in mass numbers. There is very little individual storage space for each family, if any at all. Therefore, it would be more beneficial for the families in need for all potential donors of supplies and other physical donations to simply stockpile those donations until a central, long-term holding and sorting location can be organized.
At some point evacuees will be relocated to proper medium term (not quite long-term, but not as temporary as current locations) housing. At that time, material donations can be directed to each family in need, since storage areas will be more readily available. There simply isn't the room for it now.
Certain needs can be sent immediately, however. These needs include things like toothbrushes, soap, shampoo, diapers, baby wipes, infant formula, etc. Since these needs should be new and unopened, it only makes sense to send cash to an organization equipped to distribute large quantities of these items.
For more information, contact:
United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County
700 South Alamo
PO Box 898
San Antonio, Texas 78293-0898