Where to Donate to Harvey Victims (and How to Avoid Scams)
By CHRISTINA CARO,AUG. 28, 2017 New York Times
A large and complicated rescue operation is underway in Houston as floodwaters continue to rise, fed by unrelenting rain.
So far, there’s no end in sight.
As a tropical storm, Harvey is expected to produce 6 to 12 more inches of rain through Friday over the upper Texas coast, where some areas — including the Houston metropolitan area — may see accumulations of up to 50 inches.
If you’re outside the affected area, here are options to help. (If you’re in Texas and displaced by the storm, here’s how to get help.)
The South Texas Blood and Tissue Center is reporting a critical shortage, and has extended hours at all of its San Antonio-area donor rooms. To donate, call 210-731-5590 or visit their website for more information.
Carter BloodCare covers hospitals in North, Central and East Texas. To donate, call 877-571-1000 or text DONATE4LIFE to 444-999.
The L.G.B.T.Q. Disaster Relief Fund will be used to help people “rebuild their lives through counseling, case management, direct assistance with shelf stable food, furniture, housing and more.” It is managed by The Montrose Center, Houston’s long time community center for the area’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender population.
Catholic Charitiesprovides food, clothing, shelter and support services to those from all religious backgrounds.
Donations to the Salvation Army can be made online, by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY (1-800-725-2769) or texting STORM to 51555.
AABB, which coordinates a task force to manage blood collection efforts during disasters, put out a call on Sunday for blood donations in the aftermath of Harvey. Most in demand: those with type O-positive blood.
Those interested in donating blood may contact the following organizations:
YouCaring has a fund-raising page set up by J. J. Watt of the Houston Texans with a goal of $3 million. By 4 p.m. Tuesday it had raised more than $2 million.
GlobalGiving’s Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund supports local organizations by helping to “meet survivors’ immediate needs for food, fuel, clean water, hygiene products and shelter.” It will also assist with longer-term recovery efforts.
Airbnb is waiving service fees for those affected by the disaster and checking in between Aug. 23 and Sept. 25, and can guide users in creating a listing where their home is offered to victims free.
HOW TO AVOID BEING SCAMMED
Before giving money to an organization, do your research.
Charity Navigator, which identifies worthy charities, has a handy list of organizations that are responding in the aftermath of the storm.
“Be wary of charities that spring up too suddenly in response to current events and natural disasters,” the F.T.C. website says. “Even if they are legitimate, they probably don’t have the infrastructure to get the donations to the affected area or people.”
GoFundMe, the source of many new fund-raisers that popped up after Harvey, offers a way for donors and campaign organizers to communicate directly.
Bobby Whithorne, a spokesman for GoFundMe, said in an email that if a specific campaign is raising questions, “report the campaign directly to GoFundMe by clicking ‘Report Campaign’ on the GoFundMe campaign page or, report your concerns to the state Consumer Protection Hotline.”
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