Volunteering and Donating

People naturally want to help when there is an emergency. It’s important to make sure the help you provide is needed by those impacted by the emergency and is coordinated.


Donating money is the best method of donating. Money allows support agencies to purchase the most needed resources and prevents these agencies from having to store large quantities of physical goods.

Donate through a trusted organization to make sure your donations get to the people who are impacted by the emergency. Groups such as the Canadian Red Cross, Salvation Army and St. John Ambulance are potential agencies that could assist in an emergency.

If you are donating physical items, make sure they are needed before dropping them off. If specific items are needed, they will be requested.

Unsolicited donations of items can distract agencies from providing important services. They often need to reassign volunteers from important services to sort, package, transport, warehouse and distribute items that may not meet the current needs of individuals.


Immediately following an emergency, communities can become overwhelmed by the amount of generous people wanting to help. Do not show up at an emergency site unless your help is requested by authorities.

If you want to volunteer, connect with an existing non-governmental organization (NGO) before coming to an emergency area. Working with an organization makes sure you are properly trained and equipped, and able to help in a coordinated manner.

Volunteers could be needed for weeks after an emergency, not just in the hours and days that follow. Working with a NGO helps coordinate this long-term support for the community.