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0ur Hope for Fair Distribution of Relief Donations/Supplies to the Neediest Folks

Facility Type: Database Training/Admin
Status: Open

, US 00000


Main/General Business Number: SCROLL DOWN MORE

This organization provides Temporary or Permanent Service? Temporary


** Citizen Action Team Guidelines**
** for Fair Distribution of Donated Relief Supplies**

DRAFT (July 31, 2007)


* Citizen Action Team "Survivor Bill of Rights"

Although we recognize that each donation distribution site should
develop their own "policies" with respect to distribution of donations,
we also believe in a fair and open distribution system, with 100%
disclosure and transparency.

The Citizen Action Team believes that:

1. Relief supplies donated "to the public" are "public property."
2. Information about where public property is kept is "public information".
3. Disaster survivors have the right to:

a. Know where donated supplies are located.
b. See written/posted policies AT the relief site which outline the process for determining who gets what supplies;
c. Know that those policies are applied in a consistent manner, no matter who your friends are;
d. Participate in the development of the criteria for who gets what supplies;


* Relief Supply Distribution Site Methods/Policies

We believe that:

1. all relief supply distribution sites should be 100% open about what supplies have been delivered to the site. all sites should post, in at least three public locations, an inventory of relief supplies that have been delivered to that particular site.

2. all relief supply distribution sites should maintain a current inventory of unallocated supplies and post that inventory in a public location, such as the web, either on your own website, on the CAT database, or both. Preferably, you will post it not only on your own website, but also on a public website such as Craig's List or other nationally recognized web locations where survivors gather.

3. all relief supply distribution sites should maintain a written policy for how supplies are distributed. The process for determining who gets supplies should be clear and should not differ based on a person's relationship with the relief distribution site.

4. all relief supply distribution sites should maintain a public listing of case managers (and their contact info) that are available to help the surivor understand if they are qualified to recieve donated relief supplies.

5. all relief supply distribution sites should maintain a method for local delivery supplies to the disabled, elderly and those that can not come to the distribution site. CAT donated supplies are intended for the neediest, not the most connected, or the ones that are the most clever at navigating the system.

6. it is understood that a certain % of donated items must be used for "internal" relief site operations. With the exception of office equipment (computers, printers, faxes, etc) and office supplies, no more than 10% of donated supplies should be kept for internal relief site operations. It is intended that as much of the supplies as possible should go to the survivors themselves.

7. NO SKIMMING. Citizen Action Team does not promote or tolerate "skimming" of donated supplies. By skimming, we mean activities where volunteers or relief workers take donations out of the gathering/distribution stream and keep them for themselves and/or for their friends. At gathering sites, as donated supplies are gathered, NO DONATIONS CAN BE TAKEN BY GATHERERS. NONE. We don't care if that donated coat is better than yours. We don't care if no one will "miss" that donated video tape. The donations are for survivors and for relief site operations. Period. If you need personal items, like clothes or toiletries, GET IN LINE. Go fill out an application so that the case management process can assess your need.


* Items for Survivor Community Groups versus Items for Survivors

1. Certain items, such as office supplies and office equipment (computers, printers, faxes, etc) are donated with the understanding that the equipment is donated "to the community". Until a region has outfitted every "Community Center", donated office equipment/supplies are intended to go into Community Centers where many people can use them. Community Centers are considered to be: government building, school building, senior center, relief operations site, medical clinic, training center, and other facilities that are used "by the community". Donated office equipment is not intended to go to individuals for individual use. We don't want office equipment to sit in someone's hosue unused. We want the equipment to be available to as many people as possible.

Any questions? or suggestions on improving these guidelines? Please contact us at: 978 266 2778,



July 2007: Yesterday I got a call from a survivor who said that an organization listed in this database was not distributing supplies "to the public" in general, or to the neediest. Instead the organizations was, according to this report, using donated supplies as an incentive for survivors to sign up for the organization's services. Let it be known that anything that Citizen Action Team sends to a disaster zone is a "gift to the public", to the neediest of people.

CAT donated supplies should NOT to be used as a business development incentive... for profit, OR for non-profit organizations. If you know of someone using CAT donated supplies for business development purposes, please call 978 266 2778 ASAP.

Relief supplies need to be distributed to case managed people or to those obviously in need. But to use supplies that are donated to the general public for personal gain would be horrible. We are glad, however, that we were alerted to the potential of such a problem. It warms our hearts that the CAT database has been able to reduce such problems by keeping donation shipment information public. In almost two years of operations, this is only one of two reports that we have gotten about the possibility of inappropriate behavior regarding donations distribution at sites listed in this database.

We strongly believe that local communities should be left to sort out whom they think are "the neediest". But to ensure that communities have appropriate processes, we insist on FULL DISCLOSURE. When everyone knows what supplies have been delivered, everyone can participate in the process for developing distribution processes. "Everyone" can complain, if they do not like the processes. We believe that this democratic method of distribution is a very good thing. When supplies are doled out in secret, too many opportunities for corruption exist.

By operating a fully public website that lists where donated supplies can be found, we believe that the fairest policies will evolve in a region.

We became aware of a need to be more diligent in our efforts to ensure that CAT supply distribution points are distributing supplies without a "conflict of interest".

And we became aware of a need for "education" to help communities learn how to fairly distribute relief supplies.

Because these things are not obvious, we are convinced, that the CAT database has a major role to play in keeping the survivors up to date as to where donations are being shipped to and distributed from.

If you are a non-CAT donor and you wish to consult us as to which locations have been reported as doing "business" in a questionnable manner, please contact us.

If you are a distribution site and you would like our suggestions on how to ensure that your distribution site is operating according to Citizen Action Team Guidelines, please contact us.

If supplies are being donated to the public, donors should make every effort to inform the public where those donations are being distributed. If you want our suggestions on how to make sure that donation distribution locations are properly advertising the availability of donated supplies, please contact us.


Info Source/Changes:

Created At: Wed Aug 01 08:23:45 +0000 2007
Updated At: Thu Dec 26 16:03:30 +0000 2013
Updated By: tfri

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