From the Maryland Governor's Office: Donate Wisely!
Financial contributions are preferred.
Cash donations help to avoid the labor and expense of sorting, packing, transporting, and distributing donated goods, and voluntary relief agencies use cash to meet the specific needs of victims more quickly.
Donate through an experienced organization. See our Disaster Relief Agencies list of local and state recommended organizations.
Relief agencies prefer the versatility of cash donations; however some have the infrastructure in place to store and distribute donated goods. To prevent waste, donations of goods should be made only to agencies that have requested specific items.
Donors should be wary of anyone who claims that "everything" is needed. Many groups have been disappointed that their efforts and the goods they collected were not appreciated. A community hit by disaster, however, does not have the time, manpower, or money to dispose of unneeded donations. Get precise information before collecting any donated goods.
In a community struggling to respond to and recover from a disaster, an influx of unexpected or unneeded volunteers and donations can make the process even more difficult. Before traveling to the disaster area to help, learn where and when your skills will be needed. Discuss with volunteer organizers how your needs for food, water and shelter will be met while you are volunteering.