Help for Hurricane Harvey: Be careful about what and to whom you donate

Supplies you should donate

CLEVELAND - When disasters of this magnitude hit, one of the first responses, is how can I help. And history has shown, Ohioans are extraordinarily charitable. In fact a recent Wallet Hub study ranked Ohio 8th in the country in terms of giving. But some aid organizations are saying wait, before you make things worse

The problem with many disasters is that people are so quick to help, they often send warehouses full of supplies the victims simply can't use, and aid workers don't know what to do with it all.

There were piles of donated clothing strewn across the beach after the 2004 Tsunami in Indonesia.

Supplies filled the street after Super Storm Sandy.

And boxes of teddy bears and toys filled up warehouse after the Newtown shootings.

There the most heartfelt of outpourings, but when disaster strikes, the first thing aid workers need is cash, plain and simple.

"We really can't use thing like diapers and water or food and blankets, that type of stuff," said Mark Parks of the American Red Cross.

The Red Cross, which has opened 34 shelters, says since it's still early in the Harvey disaster, they need to figure out what people need, where to store everything, and how to disperse it. Money on the other hand can be used immediately for emergency assistance.

And it says, by purchasing items in and around the affected area, they can help bolster the local economy which will help them recover quicker.

American Red Cross
The American Red Cross has made it very easy to donate $10. Just text "HARVEY" to 90999.
You can also call 1-800-RED CROSS or log on to their website at www.Redcross.org.

Salvation Army
The Salvation Army, which has sent down 43 mobile units, is also accepting donations by text. You can text "STORM" to 51555. You can also call 1-800-SAL-ARMY or log on at www.helpsalvationarmy.org.

Catholic Charities
Catholic Charities is also taking cash donations. You can text "CCUSADISASTER" to 71777. You can also call 1-800-919-9338 or log on at www.catholiccharitiesusa.org

But if you are going to send money somewhere else, don't get scammed. Thieves come out of the woodwork after disasters, like Nouel Alba. She was convicted for soliciting donations, pretending her nephew was killed in the Sandy Hook massacre.

"Be careful of ones that say 'go to my foundation and I will funnel it back to the red cross' or use a middleman," says Frank Cilona, President of the Canton Better Business Bureau.

In addition to the Better Business Bureau ,Charity Navigator, Charity Watch and Give Well are several sites where you can research companies asking for help.

One organization you don't need to research is WKYC.  We have a link on our website called Texas Cares where you can donate. Our parent company Tegna will match donations up to $100,000 dollars.

 

© 2017 WKYC-TV


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