“ASHLAND, Ky. (WYMT/WSAZ) – Tropical Storm Harvey is over land and relief efforts are just beginning for tens of thousands of people.
The Red Cross has 2,000 staff and volunteers on the ground, including 46 people from Kentucky. They are helping support 230 shelters with an estimated population of 23,000 a night.
From diapers to blood, there are all sorts of needs out there. Charity officials like Joanna King, executive director for the Eastern Kentucky Chapter of the American Red Cross, said if you really want to help money is the best thing to give, but not to just anyone.
There are a lot of options for helping victims of Harvey, but there are also scams from people trying to take advantage of a spirit of generosity.
“Money is the best gift they can give,” King said.
Only give to a charity you know and trust, whether nationwide like the Red Cross and Salvation Army or local, like the Texas Diaper Bank or Houston Humane Society.
“Texas has some wonderful nonprofits, but do your research first,” King said.
Research can be done using websites like Charity Navigator, CharityWatch, GuideStar or Give.org.
“There’s a lot of ways that Americans can get involved that aren’t necessarily finding things or driving into the heat of the disaster.”
Beware of many crowdfunding websites. Charity Navigator lists more than 30 local reputable causes — everything from the Houston Food Bank and United Way to Habitat for Horses and Islamic Relief USA.
‘America is the most generous country,” King said. “We all want to help. We go through closets to find things to give away. We set up blessing boxes. It doesn’t hurt me that people want to help people. I just caution that they make sure their help, what they’re giving out of their own pocket goes to really helping somebody else.’ ”
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