When disasters strike, the images of destruction and human suffering are impossible to ignore. The desire to help those in desperate need is fundamental to the foundations of the Church, but how best to help? First, remember that disaster preparedness begins at home. Take steps to prepare your congregation before a disaster occurs so that they become survivors rather than victims. When disaster does happen, help responsibly. Unneeded donations and hordes of unorganized volunteers can create a “disaster-within-a-disaster.” Instead, give only what is needed and, though it may sound crass, money is often the best gift. Pray for survivors and first responders. 

This article originally appeared in the NAE Insight.

Jeff Jellets is the territorial disaster coordinator for The Salvation Army’s Southern Headquarters. In this role, he coordinates support to Salvation Army units within the district during a major emergency and provides technical guidance during disaster preparedness, response and recovery. Jellets began his career in emergency management in 1992, working for the Federal Emergency Management Agency Region II as a public information officer and community outreach team leader. Jellets received his B.A. from Flagler College in St. Augustine, Florida.