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All Hands and Hearts - Smart Response

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Disaster Aid, Disaster Preparedness & Relief Services

Mission: All Hands and Hearts is a US-based, 501(c)3 non-profit organization, that provides hands-on assistance to survivors of natural disasters around the world, with maximum impact and minimum bureaucracy. By supporting volunteers with housing, meals, tools, and organized work at no charge we are able to provide free and effective response services to communities in need. Our programs are directed by the needs of each community in which we work, ensuring a timely, relevant, and culturally sensitive response.

Results: Over the past 10 years your donations have been incredibly effective. Here are a few of the impacts they've made: 57 projects in 10 years 20 international projects 37 United States based projects 31,000+ volunteers from 94 countries 1Million+ hours of service donated

Target demographics: people affected by natural disasters and rebuild communities

Direct beneficiaries per year: 500+ families following a natural disaster in the USA or around the world.

Geographic areas served: global

Programs: mucking and gutting houses, debris removal, flood water removal, and basic rebuild processes.

Community Stories

205 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Marlee R.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My first experience with All Hands was in September 2017 for Louisiana Flood Recovery. I was only there for two and a half short weeks but I loved every minute of it. I ended up going home with the urge to return and I ended up volunteering in the Florida Keys for a little over 6 weeks. The staff and other participants only make the overall experience better. Regardless of your level of expertise, you are able to make a difference and have a team to support you. Nothing is more rewarding than seeing the looks on homeowners' faces when we finish a project. The gratitude can't be put into words. I would 100% volunteer with All Hands again and would recommend it to anyone looking to volunteer for a fantastic cause.

1 bower128

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My first volunteer experience with All Hands and Hearts (formerly All Hands Volunteers) was in April 2017 in Denham Springs, Louisiana. I signed up to volunteer for 2 weeks during the recovery phase after the flooding in August 2016. Going into my experience, I had no previous knowledge or skills required to build homes. The staff is incredibly patient and helpful as many volunteers are, as I was, completely new to this kind of trade. This experience was absolutely life changing. The people, both the staff and volunteers, were so authentic, passionate, and dedicated to serving the communities affected by disaster. The communal living, while a bit of adjustment, functions successfully and encourages bonding, connection, and respect among volunteers and staff members. AHAH is an organization that radiates integrity and remains true to their mission and values. Also, you do not pay to volunteer. This creates an open door to bring in more volunteers that otherwise may have been deterred by costs. All are welcome, all are accepted, all are appreciated.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I arrived in Houston in February as a volunteer for AHAH. Originally I had the intention of staying on for 2 1/2 weeks, however, within a day I knew I never wanted to leave. The common bond between staff and volunteers of wanting to make a difference and helping rebuild communities was incredibly obvious. It was an honor to be a volunteer. It's a dream come true to be on staff with this AMAZING organization.

1 Elena.d

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was supposed to volunteer just for few weeks, but after few days I knew already that I was going to stay longer, way longer. Now it's been 10 months straight on project, but the feeling didn't change. Every day, in this organization, you will have the chance to meet amazing people from all over the world, both volunteers and homeowners, you will listen to their stories, and how this experience changed them, and nothing is more satisfying than that.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered in Louisiana 2017. I planned to go for just three weeks after I turned 18, ended up staying months. The work and the community you’re given when volunteering with All Hands and Hearts is amazing and something I will carry with me till the end of my life. The work feels so rewarding and the family you make during your time is one that’ll stay with you for longer than you know. I love how personal it became. Everything you do and you involve yourself in with this organization because personal and it’s amazing!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered at the Houston project. Great organization, great people. Efficient, flexible, and effective.

Eric B.2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This non-profit allows people to drop in and out to do as much work as they want. The transition is seamless and very fast paced. You can feel the difference you are making day one. The community of like minded people makes it easy to connect and work hard together for the cause. This was the best experience I've ever had and the most rewarding. Highly recommended.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I came on board with All Hands and Hearts as a Volunteer in Houston in December of 2017. I was only in Houston for a couple of weeks but my experience there with All Hands and Hearts completely altered the trajectory of my life. I have spent the last 2 months Volunteering in Yabucoa, Puerto Rico and just recently joined the staff here as the Volunteer Engagement Coordinator. I am extremely honored to work for this organization and plan to stay on board for as long as possible. AHAH has an incredible platform and a method of empowering volunteers to truly make an impact in areas of great need. I like to say that All Hands and Hearts has an open door policy because people are welcome to come from all walks of life, skill levels, etc. and are given an opportunity to make a powerful and lasting impact. I would strongly suggest that anyone who can to become involved with this organization either through volunteering or donating.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have worked with many non profits throughout the past 7 years and All Hands and Hearts tops my list of great organizations to be a part of. From the mission, to the work, the structure, the transparency, and the community interaction they have a very strong organization and it is a true pleasure to be able to contribute to the difference they are making. Volunteers are the center of All Hands and its great to see an organization care so deeply about both the communities effected by the disasters but also the people coming out to lend a hand.

msjuliadarling

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It's an understatement to say that this organization changed my life. I originally came to volunteer in Louisiana for a week, and was hooked. I've been on program now for the last eight months, and it is so wonderful to see people come together to help rebuild communities. Participating with All Hands and Hearts is a great privilege - everyone here is so warm, welcoming and helpful.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have worked on 3 projects with this nonprofit ( Detroit, The US Virgin islands, and Texas). Each project has been very professionally ran with a lot of thought and heart put into every aspect of how they operate.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I arrived in Houston in October 2017. Not sure what I was getting into or how long I would say. What I found was a group of like minded individuals with huge hearts and a desire to create a better world. Today is my six month anniversary of the all hands and hearts Houston program. I am still here and have actually joined as a site supervisor for the rebuild part of our response with no plans to leave anytime soon. A great organization filled with wonderful people making a difference

Andrew C.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

All Hands and Hearts is an organization committed to using its resources to helping the communities that it works in. The organization prides itself on being efficient and transparent so as to ensure that donors and volunteers can see the impact that they are having on effected communities. In addition to its impact on these communities, All Hands and Hearts consistently affects its volunteers. It is a volunteer powered organization which allows individuals to come without having to pay for the experience itself as well as for room and board. This model ensures that there is a diversity of individuals (age, background, etc) working together to make a difference. This, along with its impact on the community, is why All Hands and Hearts has had an impact on thousands of community members and volunteers. I would recommend this organization to individuals from all walks of life.

Amy T.3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I signed up to volunteer with All Hands and Hearts for one week in the beginning of September after hurricane Harvey hit. I thought I'd just work that week and go back to everyday life. That did not happen. I continued volunteering for the past 7 months. All Hands and Hearts is an amazing organization. It helps train every day people to learn the skills to help in disaster relief. It helps rebuild hope and strength in each other and the communities we help in. All Hands and Hearts is the good that the world needs to see. It is a family. It is home.

Katy M.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered for 10 weeks, I would have done more but I am not American. My experience was one week of gutting out a house and the remaining nine weeks as base manager. Meeting the residents of the house was great and it enabled me to understand more of their circumstances and how much they needed our help. It was an honour to help them. Working with the All Hands and Hearts staff and volunteers was very special, we were all there to help those in need and this was getting acheived. My base manager role involved me ensuring our accommodation was well maintained and stocked accordingly, as well undertaking the catering and food shopping. This was a challenge but I enjoyed this as I got to use my organisation skills. Whatever one does in volunteering you are helping, as well as learning skills and how to live in a communal setting. A great experience.

Grant C.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was lucky enough to spend 3 weeks volunteering in Houston with this fantastic organization in February this year. Both staff and volunteers were welcoming, enthusiastic and competent for the massive task that is presented from the damage caused by Hurricane Harvey. The open and flexible working environment leads to close bonds between volunteers and staff alike and allows quick up-skilling on both the mucking and gutting projects and also on the re-building of houses. I would highly recommend anyone with a spare week or month to take the plunge, don the purple shirt and get your hands dirty with a great bunch of folks.

Monserrat B.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I came to All Hands and Hearts for the Texas Project back in November for Hurricane Harvey. I had no experience with a hammer, let alone deconstructing a house. I have learned so much, and the knowledge I have learned has been so useful. Not only does All Hands and Hearts teach you things, but being on project is such a life changing experience. I have met so many new faces, from all walks of life, and have truly enjoyed every moment on project. I highly recommend All Hands And Hearts to anyone looking to help, but not sure where to go or even what to do.

1 Kate T.2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

When I first learned about All Hands and Hearts in 2013, I had no idea what to expect when I first volunteered with them. I flew to the Philippines not knowing anyone or anything about the program, and few away rich with experiences, lifetime friends and a gnarly sunburn. I was hooked.
I recently finished my fourth project with All Hands and I am about to book my next fight to another project because they’re just that good at making you drink the volunteering koolaid.

How often do you find a program that is so insanely good at helping communities recover? While I was recently in Puerto Rico, we completed over 100 home repaires in just 6 weeks since the program started. At zero cost to the homeowner. It’s amazing to see the joy, relief and pure gratitude of the communities members faces.

Who are the volunteers? They’re retirees , college students, mothers, fathers, and even grandparents! Everyone can help with All Hands; and it’s practically free! All I have paid for is a plane ticket, and sometimes they give those to volunteers too.

6

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Like many of the people I now support when I volunteer, I come from humble beginnings. From early childhood to my late teens, my limited wardrobe consisted of either donations from charities or clothes that my mother, who had left her home country of Vietnam during the war, would sew for me. I learned very early on to find joy in the simple things in life and have always believed, maybe naively so, that people are intrinsically good.

It is those humble beginnings that paved the way for my passion for volunteering. People have helped me and my family when I was younger, and I am now in a position to help others. Life comes full circle. Like many, I’ve experienced hardship and painful episodes of loss over the years, but volunteering has always put things in perspective for me. Such is the beauty of giving: the realization that in the end, the intangibles one receives go way beyond what one gives.

I never had the flexibility to take a year off to travel or to join projects for months on end like some of my fellow volunteers. I had to start working as soon as I graduated from school but I held on to the idea of giving back, and when there is a will there is a way! I recently celebrated 20 years of volunteering activities around the world, from orphanage visits to tutoring of underprivileged children, disaster relief or work in slum areas.

While helping out in Japan after the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster of March 2011, a friend told me about an organization called All Hands Volunteers (AHV). I bookmarked the website. When AHV launched its response to Superstorm Sandy I expressed my interest and soon received an e-mail welcoming me to Project Long Island. I first joined the project in March 2013 and volunteered with AHV in New York on a total of nine different occasions that year alone.
The camaraderie with fellow volunteers coming from all walks of life but with a similar desire to help was instant and infectious. Logistics were made easy, allowing me to focus my limited time off work on helping rather than untangling administrative details. I had no technical knowledge but the projects were structured and I was provided with the guidance, safety measures, procedures and tools I needed. I witnessed first-hand the long-term impact of AHV’s work as several disaster response projects I joined turned into rebuild activities – in New York specifically, I was given a chance to further the response work I had started in early 2013 and help rebuild homes affected by Superstorm Sandy in Long Island in late 2013, Staten Island in 2014 and Brooklyn in 2015.

It has been two and a half years since my first AHV project. All Hands Volunteers has made it possible for me to volunteer around the world on 14 different projects to address the needs of areas struck by tornadoes, floods, typhoons and earthquakes. I've learned a lot, made lifetime friends, and still receive occasional updates from survivors I’ve assisted.

I do not have the energy of a 20-year-old; I do not have much free time beyond weekends and vacation days; I do not have the technical know-how of a construction worker or any specialized skills outside of my office desk work; I do not have big muscles; but I have heart and a strong desire to help, and AHV determined that it was good enough. They made it possible for me to make a difference. I am thankful.

Review from #MyGivingStory

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My experience with All Hands was something that I would never expect. I came just for two weeks and ended up staying for 3 months. I was concern about the work but I realized that here everyone has a space to contribute and help no matter your age, skills or strength. I learnt so much about the Yolanda and how it affected the community (even years latter). The organization show us in a very clearly way what happened, what they are doing and how us, as volunteers, can help. Definitely one of the best experiences in my entire life!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Been with All Hands Volunteers for over a year now and have not regretted it one bit! I arrived in the Philippines in October 2014 to help with the recovery and rebuild of communities devastated by Super Typhoon Yolanda, which hit Tacloban City in November 2013. The hard working days and the buckets of sweat were heavily rewarded with smiles from the community members and the local workers we worked alongside with for months. I have so many memories I will cherish forever. I acquired a lot of new skills as a volunteer and have matured as a person. Thank you AHV for the amazing experience!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

When the Philippines were hit by Yolanda, I knew I needed to go and help by joining an iNGO. I came across AHV and decided that, after reading the organization's history, this is the NGO I want to volunteer with. I went to Project Leyte twice, volunteered at project Nepal and project Detroit. AHV is now my chosen NGO - it is not just an NGO, it is a family of like-minded, hard working and fun loving people. It is the people that make this organization what it is - people with such an incredible amount of creativity, energy, enthusiasm, community spirit and love for what they are doing. But it is also the AHV leadership, from David Campbell to board members who are not afraid to get down and dirty on location to AHV program/project managers that communicates and encourages volunteers and staff to take charge of their own projects and fund raising efforts. All in all, it is an organization that provides volunteers with learning and career opportunities within and outside the organization.

Shivani K.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

When I read about All Hands Volunteers and the work they do i was very impressed. I applied for 3 months and they were the most satisfying 3 months of my life so far. I met people from all around the world with different life experiences to share. I did work that i didn't even know i was capable of doing. Working on site was pretty amazing, it's really cool to be able to see the impact of all the hard work. I personally like the idea of using physical strength to build things that will help stabilize the lives of those in need, and in the end of the day you will get to see the progress. Another thing that i liked was that the organization is run by considerate people who understand that every individual has different strengths and abilities, and so they don't pressure any volunteer to be like another. I volunteered on Project Leyte in the Philippines and had a great time. Everyone was friendly, they taught me how to do things on site since i had no previous experience with this kind of work. The project seemed to be running smoothly and was very organised. When i got a chance to base manage i saw all the things that were happening in the background. How hard everyone was working to ensure maximum amount of work was being done while making sure that volunteers were taken care of. The staff worked very hard, sometimes till very late and their love for the project was so visible it was amazing. Another thing i liked was that they were very transparent about things like expenses and donations. The fundraisers were always innovative and fun! I loved the way the organization had a great relationship with the local community, this helps volunteers have a more cultural experience. I was also impressed with the living conditions and the fact that we had security, helped me feel a lot safer since i was 19 when i volunteered and it was my first time travelling alone.
All in all... I think AHV is a great organization. The work they do is amazing and the organization is full of wonderful people who will help make for a great experience. Volunteering helps one have a different perspective on life and helps a person grow.
I am hoping to volunteer with All Hands Volunteers again!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Great mission with devoted workers and low overhead administrative costs. Many volunteers sign up for extension of service time and return for multiple projects. At times bare boned but tries to keep everyone in the loop as far as function and spending; ie totally transparent.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered for All Hands in the Phillipines, they are AMAZING!!! Xx

1 David323

Volunteer

Rating: 5

After the April 2015 Earthquake in Nepal, I got hit by this urge to go and help with relief and rebuild as a volunteer. I reviewed between 6 or 7 different organisations and finally decided to go with All Hands Volunteers. The financial transparency and professionalism of the organisation is remarkable, the staff are fun loving yet fully focused and the project work they do for affected communities surpassed my expectations. The living is community based and working conditions are tough - but the cheerful, hardworking, good hearted and happy people this organisation attracts - makes up for all the sweat and grime shed on the different work sites. I did just three weeks in Nepal and just couldn't wait to go back on another project and so went to Philippines for another two weeks in a span of 3 months. It wont be long before I return to volunteer on another project with AHV. They've kinda got me addicted.....ha ha.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered with all hands for a month thinking it would be a one time thing. I was very wrong. I was blown away by the organization, the work they do, and the people I volunteered with. It's amazing what they do with so little, how they change communities far beyond just building shelter, and bringing together people who really care. I scrapped all of my summer plans and now am on my third project with all hands this year.

Marcelo O.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the opportunity to volunteer with AHV in Philippines for 10 days and I had an amazing time.
Their working model is a success in the Philippines , contributing with a huge impact to the community affected by Typhoon Yolanda.

Former staff

Rating: 5

AHV! My Lifesaver! Thank you for being our hand, just like what i said before you all made our loads lighter and smoother. To Everyone in AHV, I want you all to know that we *Taclobanons* truly appreciate the effort and kindness to help us through.,Without the effort and support we cannot imagine what we could have bbeen right now.! You've all showed how important it is to help others without getting paid.Love you all forever!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I first volunteered with All Hands in 2013, and have returned multiple times in order to continue working alongside this incredible organization. Staff members are committed, volunteers are passionate, and All Hands helps those in need through interactive, community-based work. In just a few days I will be heading to my sixth project in the Philipinnes, and Nepal immediately after. I could not speak highly enough of my experiences with this organization and the people I have met through it. Volunteers of all ages, backgrounds, and experience levels are accepted, and I encourage anyone who wants to make a difference in the lives of others to apply.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Being the overly cautious type, I watched All Hands from afar for about a year before I joined a project. I first volunteered with AHV in Nepal. I came for 5 weeks with the thought that if I hated it I could easily survive for that long. Well guess what, I loved it. Just 2 short months later I am now back in Nepal with AHV again. This time my husband joined me and we are staying 3 months. I have no doubt that we will join yet another AHV project in the future.

Katharine2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I only spent 2 weeks with this charity but even in that short amount of time I learnt so much and had the most incredible experience (I would have extended if I could have!). The staff at base were helpful, understanding and cared for each volunteer, making sure they got fully involved and learnt what they could, even if we were limited for time. The sense of community on base and off is amazing. You really do immerse yourself in the community. I spent most of my 2 weeks working, dancing, singing and chatting with the local carpenters and volunteers which shifting concrete and helping build foundations for a new dormitory for children (the site was called Streetlight). I enjoyed it so much I passed on my experience to 3 friends who are now there loving it as much as I did. It really is a cause that you feel close to and it feels like you are making a practical difference, using your skills and acquiring new ones as you work. I couldn't recommend it enough to new and old volunteers alike.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Excellent volunteer experience.you get a sense of family and camaraderie,plus the work done is beyond rewarding.

Hayley-Maeve S.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

AHV is a great way to actually get your hands dirty and make a difference instead of just wondering where the money you donate goes when you send 3quid to a massive organisation. You definitely feel like you're helping so many people and theres loads of ways to use your own skills to improve the running of things or even just help other volunteers learn how to do something like, oh I don't know, build a house!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am from Philippines and has volunteered in Tacloban, Leyte which was devastated by the typhoon Haiyan last November 2013.

Being a first time volunteer, i can't help but be nervous, but after a day I was able to fit in and feel in love with AHV in their amazing job that they have done with the people of Leyte where they built homes and repaired boats in Samar which was their livelihood. And also being a Filipino I was able to communicate better with the locals and was able to hear their amazing story of survival during the typhoon and have said that the only NGO actively working in rebuilding and helping the community was AHV, in fact almost 2 years on after the typhoon Haiyan you can still see AHV volunteers working, organized fundraising and challeging themselves like shaving their hair for fundraising.
They have made friends with the locals and already considered AHV as their extended family member which really inspired me to volunteer again for AHV.