Disaster Relief Efforts
Many of us are watching the news from the Gulf Coast. Hurricane Harvey has decimated many parts of Texas and Louisiana. I am particularly interested in the relief efforts since I lived in the Houston area for about 3 years. It is a city near and dear to my heart.
If you are like me, you want to help somehow, someway. But how can you tell which efforts are scams? Also, which relief agencies have the least administrative fees? Hopefully this post will help.
There are actually quite a few websites that rank charitable foundations. Charity Navigator and Charity Watch are just two. Each site has its own criteria. Some of the rankings are based on a ratio of administrative fees to funds handed out. Others rely on ratings from individuals, similar to web ratings for restaurants or hotels. A few do not include religious groups since they cannot access the IRS returns. However, for some these church sponsored groups remain valuable.
There are many organizations I trust. The United Methodist Church is at the top of the list. I will donate to their Disaster Relief Fund which you can access here. The church website relates stories of already completed help. Link to UMC website for more details.
Sometimes individual churches provide direct help. Many churches in the path of the storm became shelters for those forced from their homes. Others became staging areas for rescue efforts.
Churches outside the affected area can help in the months to come. After the tornados in Joplin a few years ago, members of our church traveled there months after the fact to help. Actually, a later visit to help often works better. Perhaps youth groups and other volunteers can plan now to help next spring or summer.
Unfortunately, Hurricane Harvey wreaked so much havoc that relief efforts will need to continue for the forseeable future. I know the neighborhood I lived in as well as the areas where I worked were inundated with water. At this point in time the best thing I can do is send money. In a few weeks or possibly months the dry goods could come into play. For now, it is a time to clean up. The restocking will come later.
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