How to help in the recovery
With Hurricane Florence causing heavy flooding and wind damage in the Carolinas, residents will face the arduous task of cleaning up, repairing and rebuilding homes and businesses.
If you want to help, we offer some guidance below, and a list of a few of the organizations involved in recovery efforts.
First, keep in mind ...
Sending money is almost always the most efficient way to help in a disaster, according to the Center for International Disaster Information, part of the U.S. Agency for International Development. Otherwise, valuable time might be lost sorting through a mountain of donated goods that do not serve people’s immediate needs.
Of course, before you donate anything, it’s important to do a little research about an organization’s history and reputation. One way to do so is by checking Charity Navigator, which grades established charities based on transparency and financial health.
Other sites like GuideStar, the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance and Charity Watch perform similar reviews.
And a word to the wise: Attempted fraud sometimes occurs after disasters. The best advice is to check out organizations online and decline risky requests, like sending your credit card number by email. If you suspect an organization or individual is engaging in fraud, you can report it to the National Center for Disaster Fraud.
Carolina-based relief efforts
Michael Jordan, who owns the Charlotte Hornets and grew up in Wilmington, North Carolina, which was hit hard by the storm, set up a microsite to direct donations to reputable organizations.
“The recovery effort will be massive, and it will take a long time to repair the damage and for families to get back on their feet,” Jordan said in a statement.
The Diaper Bank of North Carolina, based in Durham, is collecting donations for diapers and feminine hygiene products for people displaced by the storm. (You can also buy items on the group’s Amazon wish list.)
The organization is also asking for volunteers and donations of diapers, wipes and sanitary pads.
And Gov. Roy Cooper of North Carolina announced the state itself was accepting donations to help meet the immediate needs of people affected by the hurricane. You can contribute online or by texting FLORENCE to 20222.
South Carolina is soliciting donations for the One SC Fund, which supports nonprofits that help state residents recover from natural disasters.
The Red Cross
The Red Cross had prepared to help as many as 100,000 people across the region and sent out equipment and supplies, including vehicles, meals and cleanup kits.
You can donate to the group online, or by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS or texting “RED CROSS” to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Google is matching donations up to $1 million.
And it’s asking people anywhere in the United States to consider donating blood. The Red Cross keeps a blood supply on hand to respond to emergencies, but it’s perishable, and natural disasters interfere with collections in the affected areas. United Way
The organization is asking for donations to its Hurricane Florence Recovery Fund, which will distribute 100 percent of individual donations to local United Way groups to focus on mid- and long-term recovery efforts in the Carolinas, Virginia, parts of Georgia and Maryland and other affected areas.
People affected by the storm — or inquiring about how to help — could call the help line 211 (or text 898211, or visit online) for information about local conditions and services in dozens of languages.
Through tech companies
Amazon announced you can say “Alexa, make a donation to Hurricane Florence,” if you own one of its virtual assistants. The money will go to the Red Cross.
You can also donate to the Red Cross and Feeding America on Amazon’s site.
Facebook activated its Safety Check feature and a Crisis Response page where people can post offers or requests for help.
It also enabled in-app donations to GlobalGiving, a nonprofit that redistributes funds to vetted, locally focused groups.
The social-giving platform set up a page for Hurricane Florence-related aid efforts, and it says all donations are protected by its “GoFundMe Guarantee, which means in the rare case GoFundMe, law enforcement or a user finds campaigns are misused, donors and beneficiaries are protected.”
One of the disaster-response organizations is Task Force 75, a volunteer group of veterans and others formed last year to help with rescues, first aid and humanitarian aid.