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Wednesday, 06 September 2017 13:30

How to help Hurricane Harvey victims

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With so many charities working to assist in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, many Western North Carolina residents are curious about the best way to help.

The Category 4 hurricane slammed into the Texas coast Aug. 25 leaving at least 60 people dead and more injured. No mandatory evacuation was issued before the storm hit and flooded the Greater Houston area. Much of the city and surrounding areas remain underwater as rescuers continue searching for people stuck in their homes.

Many of the local churches and law enforcement agencies in WNC are also pitching in to collect food, clothing and household items for people in need. Here is a list of national and local nonprofits in need of donations right now. With Hurricane Irma swirling in the Atlantic as a Category 5, the need for hurricane disaster relief is not likely to wane anytime soon.

 

American Red Cross

The American Red Cross is usually the first charity to come to mind when a natural disaster hits. There’s been some backlash recently regarding whether Red Cross donations actually directly impact people in need, but the Red Cross website is allowing people to donate specifically to Hurricane Harvey relief.

The Red Cross recommends monetary donations as opposed to donations of food, clothing or other household items.

“It takes time and money to store, sort, clean and distribute donated items, which diverts limited time and resources away from helping those most affected,” the Red Cross website states. “The best way to help disaster victims is with a financial donation that can be accessed quickly to support those affected, and be put to use right away. With a financial donation, individuals can buy what they need and want.”

According to the Red Cross, donations will assist in the months ahead to pay for temporary shelters, shelter supplies, transportation for disaster workers, meals for displaced residents, health services and more.

If you can’t make a monetary donation, consider giving a donation of blood. The need for blood is always in high demand, especially for rare blood types, but it’s especially needed during a natural disaster.

Read more at www.redcross.org.

 

Texas charities

In addition to national nonprofits like American Red Cross, there are many local charities in Texas and Louisiana that will be critical during the hurricane recovery efforts.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner established the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, which will be administered by the Greater Houston Community Foundation to help those impacted by the floods.

Make a donation at https://ghcf.org/hurricane-relief/

The Boys and Girls Club of Greater Houston opened its doors to displaced residents this week at no charge. To donate to them, visit http://www.bgcgh.org/About-Us

Houston Food Bank and the Food Bank of Corpus Christi will no doubt be in need of donations for the next several months to meet demand. Visit www.houstonfoodbank.org or www.foodbankcc.com.

The United Way of Greater Houston flood relief fund will be used to help with immediate needs as well as long-term services like minor home repair. Visit www.unitedwayhouston.org/flood or text UWFLOOD to 41444 to make a donation.

If you do have diaper and wipe donations collected, they can be mailed to the Texas Diaper Bank in San Antonio, 5415 Bandera Road, Suite 504, San Antonio, Texas, 78238.

For a list of reliable charities helping with the hurricane recovery effort, visit www.nvoad.org/hurricane-harvey/hurricane-harvey-how-to-help/.

 

Avoid scams

There are always a number of charity scams that pop up following a natural disaster so residents should do more research before making a donation, especially if it’s an organization you’ve never heard of before. North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine F. Marshall is reminding North Carolinians to do their homework on organizations seeking donations.   

“North Carolinians naturally want to reach out and help our neighbors who were hard hit by flooding in Texas, but sadly natural disasters like Hurricane Harvey also bring out the scam artists,” Secretary Marshall said in a press release. “To make sure your generosity is actually helping those in need, look for charities that you know and contact them rather than responding to emotional appeals online from groups whose work you aren’t familiar with.”

The Secretary of State’s Charitable Solicitation Licensing Division encourages everyone to visit the charities section of www.sosnc.gov to check out groups soliciting you for donations and make sure they are legitimate charities.

If you believe you have been contacted by a scam charity, report it to the Secretary of State’s Office at 888.830.4989, or call local authorities.

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