TEXAS—(ENEWSPF)—August 28, 2017. The devastation from Hurricane Harvey continues to be felt throughout Texas. And as heavy rains and catastrophic flooding are expected to continue for days, the extent of the damage and death toll is not yet clear. The National Weather Service had called the storm “unprecedented.” According to FEMA, recovering from the disaster could take years. As emergency services, charities and aid groups gear up to address the massive need from Harvey. Here are some ways that you can help.
Many organizations are appealing for donations to help them as they send volunteers and supplies to the hardest-hit areas. These include:
A number of online fundraising sites have also been set up through GoFundMe, with donations benefiting everything from hurricane and disaster relief groups to animals and families in need. The full list of fundraisers can be viewed on GoFundMe’s Hurricane Harvey Relief page.
Animal shelters and rescue groups are taking in numerous pets displaced by the storm including:
Even if you’re not in Texas, you can book an appointment via the Red Cross website.
Provide Accommodation For Evacuees
Airbnb has launched a portal so that the people who have been displaced by the hurricane can find a place to stay. It’s also waiving fees for people affected by the disaster. More details are available on the Airbnb website here.
Word of Caution
If you are solicited for, or making a donation to a charity you are not familiar with, Illinois Attorney General Madigan offers the following tips to research a charity before donating:
- Ask how much of your donation will go to the charity and other detailed questions, including whether the organization is registered and how much of your donation will be used to pay fundraising costs. Solicitors must give you this information if you ask.
- Pay close attention to the name of the charity. Some fraudulent charities use names that sound or look like those of legitimate organizations to mislead you.
- Do not pay in cash. For security and tax record purposes, pay by check, credit card or a format of payment in which you have a record. Be sure to write the full official name of the charity on your check—do not abbreviate.
- Request written information. A legitimate charity will provide you with information outlining its mission, how your donation will be distributed and proof that your contribution is tax deductible.
- Do not donate if the solicitor uses high-pressure tactics, asks for payment in cash or insists on sending someone to pick up your monetary/financial contribution. These are all hallmarks of a scam.
- If you receive an email or text message asking for a donation, confirm that the request is from the charity, and not an imposter, by contacting the charity or visiting its website.
- Be cautious of “look-alike” websites. These fraudulent websites will often ask for personal financial information and may download harmful malware onto your computer.
- Don’t assume that charity recommendations on Facebook or social media are legitimate and have already been scrutinized. Research the charity yourself.