In August, the residents of Houston and nearby areas suffered what meteorologists called, “the worst hurricane disaster in US history.” This week, Florida and the West Indies were hit by Hurricane Irma, “one of the largest storms in recorded history,” with Hurricane Jose waiting in the wings and headed for the east coast next week. The hit parade of storms have left tens of thousands of people needing emergency shelter, and close to a million residents in need of some form of aid. Although FEMA, the Red Cross and other organizations have mobilized to provide relief, the scale of the catastrophe calls for everyone’s efforts, and people are responding throughout the country.
Victims need food, clothing and other items, but the most efficient way to deliver them from out of state is by making a donation to a relief organization. Raising money among friends, family and co-workers amplifies your efforts. Be sure to check to see if your company has a donor matching program.
When you decide to give, give smart. ABC News says, “Before you donate to a charity, make sure you know where your aid is going. The Center for International Disaster Information recommends checking with a charity monitoring organization like GiveWell, Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, or the Better Business Bureau before donating.”
Major tax-exempt organizations that are accepting hurricane-relief donations include:
- Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund. Established by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and administered by the Greater Houston Community Foundation. To make a financial donation, visit the GHCF website.
- Volunteer Florida. A leading agency for Florida’s disaster-related volunteers and donations. For more information on how to help, visit www.volunteerflorida.org/irma.
- Global Giving. For donations to Hurricane Irma relief, visit their website, or help Harvey victims by texting HARVEY to 80100 to donate $10 to Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund.
- Salvation Army. Visit www.helpsalvationarmy.org, call 1.800.SAL ARMY, or text STORM to 51555.
- American Red Cross. Visit the their website, call 1.800.RED CROSS or text HARVEY to 90999 to make a $10 donation for those in need.
- Catholic Charities of USA. Visit CCUSA’s disaster-specific website or text 71777 to make a donation.
- GoFundMe has created a landing page that aggregates campaigns already created to help those affected by Harvey and Irma.
- Starbucks has donated $250,000 to relief efforts. Customers in any U.S. company-operated store who want to help can make a donation to the American Red Cross at the register.
- The Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey has set up a special mailbox to take donations that will go directly for humanitarian relief. Visit their website. 100% of your donation goes to help those affected.
- Kids That Do Good – every donation received through the KidsThatDoGood.com donation portal through the month of September will be donated to Hurricane Harvey and Irma relief efforts.