What’s not helpful? There have been a number of articles, reminders, and stories that make the cased for NOT sending clothes and supplies to an area unless it has been requested by a reputable and accountable aid group involved with recovery. There are too many heart-breaking stories of well-intentioned people, who try to help, only to find out their efforts were wasted- or worse. The story on last week’s CBS Sunday morning is an especially painful reminder.
So what helps? Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Money. It’s the number one need and when given to trustworthy organizations, it can be targeted to do the most good where it is needed.
- How do you know which organizations are trustworthy? There is nothing worse than giving to an organization and finding out the funds were squandered or not used in a way you intended. Check out some of the watchdog organizations that rate non-profits like Charity Navigator, and Charity Watch. Reputable non-profits are part of organizations like Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD). Click on the link to see which organizations are listed and what they do. Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) is one of those organizations, and their page will tell you how you can respond to particular disasters as well as how to volunteer.
- Our recent “Hygiene Kits” drive was in response to the specific needs that PDA publicized. Our children and youth put together and shipped 220+ kits. Families may want to continue to help in tangible ways through similar “Gift of the Heart” kits.
- While we encourage people to give directly online, we know that not everyone will choose to give that way. If you make a check out to New Hope and indicate “Hurricane Assistance” on the memo line, we’ll collect and send that to the folks at PDA.
- By the way, the funds we used for the Hygiene Kits was from our Mission Committee. When we give to special offerings like our Christmas Eve offering or our One Great Hour of Sharing (collected on Palm Sunday,) those funds are ready to go at a moments notice.
Hurricanes like Harvey and Irma dominate the headlines…until the next story comes along. We know that the recovery efforts will last months and years in these places. Knowing what is needed, how to give- and to whom, ensures that we can effectively contribute to that recovery.