Disaster Preparation and Response

Time and again, our United Way has played a key role in helping people and communities recover and rebuild after a crisis. Working with our community partners, we offer a variety of services to ensure that those who will be or have been affected by a disaster get the help they need as quickly and efficiently as possible.

In addition to responding to crisis in Miami-Dade, our United Way created a partnership with the Miami Herald/el Nuevo Herald and others called Operation Helping Hands. The purpose of Operation Helping Hands is to provide people in South Florida an efficient and trusted way to respond to disasters in other parts of the world.

Logo that reads Operation Helping Hands
Operation Helping Hands (OHH) is a joint emergency response and disaster relief partnership fund established in 1998 by United Way Miami and Miami Herald/El Nuevo Herald after hurricanes Mitch and Gorges as a vehicle for South Floridians to help neighbors in need. 100% of funds raised through OHH support relief and recovery efforts connected to a specific emergency. Monetary donations made to a designated OHH fund go directly to help affected people through non-profit organizations working on the ground to deliver immediate response services, purchase supplies or investment in longer-term recovery needs identified after the initial crisis.

United Way’s experienced Community Impact staff works with local advisors to interview/vet the partner organizations that will be funded to deliver critical services, supplies or funds for relief materials; and if necessary, our Operations staff fills a fiduciary role to ensure use of funds follows defined criteria or needs. Additionally, United Way Miami’s External Affairs staff may be activated to recruit, train and deploy volunteers in local South Florida emergencies and when called upon by Miami-Dade County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) response team. United Way is a partner that fulfills emergency relief request by leveraging our network of partners and donors to connect needed “resources” with the “victims” of a natural disaster or emergency situation.