We've all seen it happen on the news....a terrible tragedy happens in another part of the country and we all want to help. There are different kinds of help. The kind that actually gets to disaster victims and helps restore communities, and the kind that, while well-intentioned, is more trouble than help.
Financial contributions to established, creditable organizations such as the
American Red Cross and Salvation Army are best. These donations help in two
ways. One, victims will get 'vouchers' to get new clothing and other items that THEY choose. And two, those vouchers are usually used in the victims' community, helping to reestablish the local economy further helping to bring that community back to normal. Just think, if you and your community were flooded, would you rather buy new items of your choosing or would you like to pick through
second-hand donated clothes, furniture, etc., much of which is usually people were donating just to get rid of? Sometimes disaster victims will need
specific items. If specific items are needed, emergency officials will put out
the call for them. Unsolicited donations, such as the tractor-trailer loads of
used clothing that arrived in Florida after Hurricane Andrew in 1992, can often
cause more problems than they were intended to solve. Officials in Florida
buried and burned literally tons of used clothing that had just been dumped when
people with good intentions sent donations that were neither requested nor
needed and there was no way to distribute them. How else can I help? Donate
blood. Blood is always needed after a major disaster. Even in your own community
supplies are generally lower than needed.
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