Volunteering is always encouraged. Often, when we volunteer, especially during a disaster, we do not think too much of keeping track of the time we put in or our out of pocket expenses. However, that selfless effort many put in to help their neighbors by working in shelters or providing free meals to those left homeless during a disaster has tremendous value, both for those assisted, but, as New Jersey residents are learning, in accessing federal disaster recovery funds.
The many hours put in by volunteers can have a financial value placed on it, allowing access to federal recovery funds without needing additional local financial resources. Personal out of pocket costs (that case of water donated to the shelter) also can be used to gain access to federal funds. Donated services and material can add up quickly towards the 10% local match required for accessing federal disaster recovery funds.
As we continue to best position the Town of Dennis in the event of a future disaster, we will be seeking guidance on the necessary forms the town should use to document the value of volunteer services.
While the article above notes the value of donations towards public disaster recovery, I am also going to inquire as to whether the value of volunteer assistance on private property might be available to assist in match requirements for private disaster aid as well.