Links to Responsible Disaster Relief Agencies
Please give MORE than once. Give this month, give next month and give again the month after that. The ongoing need will be such that people will need assistance just to survive at least well into 2006 and perhaps beyond. No amount is too small. Keep in mind that not one of the agencies listed below receives a penny in government funding and that they all depend solely on the generosity of people.
American Red Cross (Or call 1-800-HELP-NOW)
Catholic Charities (USA)
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
MAP International (Division of the Christian Medical & Dental Associations)
Salvation Army (Or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY)
Soldiers' Angels (Committed to help armed forces personnel returning to the disaster area following an overseas deployment)
Southern Baptist North American Mission Board (Their feeding teams cook most of the hot food the Red Cross and other agencies will be serving.)
All creatures great & small
The following agencies are accepting donations to support their self-appointed mandate of dealing with untold numbers of stray, abandoned and injured pets, livestock and exotic animals throughout any disaster zone in the USA.
Tips for Safe & Effective Donating
Criminals know you want to give and they are always looking for ways to trick you into giving your money to them instead of the charity you think you are helping! Read the following to make sure your donations go exactly where you want and actually do what you wish your hard earned money to do.
1. Do not give credit card numbers to anyone who calls you on the phone, no matter who they say they represent. Charities are exempt from the "Do Not Call" Registry. Criminals know this. It is much safer to call the charity yourself if you want to donate to them by credit card. When donating online by credit card, ONLY donate on a SSL ENCRYPTED page. If you don't know how to tell if the site is encrypted, play it safe and call the charity to donate by phone instead!
2. Donate money DIRECTLY to an agency that you feel comfortable supporting and one which allows you to designate that your dollars go to a specific relief. Some agencies may not give you that option and they can spend your dollars on whatever and wherever they wish. Meanwhile others will allow you to designate where your money goes. Consult CharityWatch.Org to see how your chosen charity rates. NEVER DONATE THROUGH A THIRD PARTY! Donate directly to your chosen charity. Our page here lists so many agencies so you can find several you feel comfortable giving money quickly and then link up with them directly.
3. Do NOT collect or donate clothing or non-perishable food items unless you have PRE-ARRANGED transportation and PRE-ARRANGED an agency to receive the donations in the disaster area. It often is a waste of time and effort to collect mixed items. Sometimes we feel that giving money isn't enough and we want to give a part of ourselves by donating specific items such as clothing, food or children's items. However, mixed items are NOT accepted by most of the major relief agencies who deal instead in tractor trailers and railway cars loaded with just one type of item per trailer or car. The logistics and cost of transporting mixed donated items to the disaster area will probably exceed the value of the items and only serve to complicate delivery of vital aid that is needed right now. CASH IS BEST! Cash donations will purchase bulk quantities of exactly what is required as close to the need as possible reducing transport costs. Truckloads of mixed items MAY EVEN BE TURNED AWAY before even reaching the disaster area. There is nowhere to put the items if they get there and nobody to sort through them to categorize them and then to distribute them. We further do NOT recommend transporting mixed into any disaster area for personal safety reasons. Personal security is a major issue within portions of any disaster area and fuel could be in short supply stranding you.
4. Beware of people personally soliciting donations door to door, on the street, on the Internet, by phone or email. (The F.B.I. often issues a fraud alert due to bogus email solicitations following such disasters.) Also, there could be fraudulent emails purported to be from actual victims. The Washington Post ran a story on Hurricane Katrina Internet Scams on September 1, 2005 which you can read by clicking HERE. We received an email September 4, 2005 promoting a webpage posted by someone soliciting Paypal donations for the Red Cross. While this effort may be well intentioned, the associated Paypal transaction fees could be used by the charity to deliver actual services instead of enriching a corporate giant like Paypal/eBay. If anyone gives through a "third-party" collection method the donation is NOT tax-deductible since you are not donating to the charity but to the third party! The third party is the one who is eligible to get the tax deduction because they are the one that gets the receipt from the charity! Most countertop cash collection canisters are legitimate, but all of them are subject to theft. CNN ran a story January 7, 2005 on multiple tsunami relief canisters being stolen. Never put anything larger than pocket change into a countertop canister. It is probably a safer idea to have a jar at home for your change and when it fills up, take it to the bank and then send the charity of your choice a check for the change you saved at home. Remember no amount is too small.
5. Carefully consider whether donations to newly created charities you've never heard of and which have no proven record of service delivery would actually reach those in need. Instead it is wiser to direct your contributions by check or credit card to an agency that has a proven service delivery history such as those listed on this page. Also beware of "sound-a-like" agencies which usually are scams. The list above is a fairly complete list of the reputable non-profit agencies accepting US Dollars for disaster relief with the experience to effectively deliver services. All of the agencies on our list above are legitimate and your donations to any of them are tax deductible.
6. We have heard of employers giving employees the opportunity to donate through payroll deduction. That is a great idea and we encourage creative ways such as this to make giving as "painless" as possible. One employer we heard about was matching employee contributions dollar for dollar. Yet another we know about took a vote and the employees voted to send the money the employer normally spent on the staff holiday party to disaster relief. All great ideas.
Want to do more than just donate money?
Become a Red Cross Volunteer and provide help in PERSON: In disasters the size of Katrina, the Red Cross calls up all active volunteers in their nationwide Disaster Services Human Resources System. The Canadian Red Cross and British Red Cross have also send manpower to the USA for major disasters like Katrina. However the American Red Cross STILL needs MORE PEOPLE to deliver help NOW. Contact your nearest Red Cross Chapter for information. You can find your local Red Cross Chapter by clicking this link: RED CROSS CHAPTER LOCATER and entering your ZIP CODE in the search field. Red Cross volunteers going into the disaster area should first imagine the worst possible working conditions and know in advance that it is WORSE than you imagined. In spite of the hardships all Red Cross volunteers are still expected to do a first class job. All travel expenses and meals are provided. All it will cost you is your time!
Have room in your home & in your heart?
If you have room to shelter one or more Katrina evacuees in your home, there are two new efforts just launched that will match your available space to a specific evacuee's needs. Even if you have no money to give, maybe you do have a spare bedroom or an empty basement? That might prove to be the best donation anyone could make right now!
Hurricane Housing. Org is sponsored by the "MOVE ON" political action committee. But no matter your politics, this is one great idea. Here is how MoveOn.Org says their new service will work:
CLICK HERE for Hurricane Housing. Org
Hurricane Housing Search. Org is a separate non-politically affiliated website started by an Internet firm in Georgia. The name is similar and it functions in a similar fashion to Hurricane Housing.Org but is not affiliated with them. We aren't sure which one started first, but both are great ideas.
CLICK HERE for Hurricane Housing Search. Org
Fixing the broken circles
Families ripped apart by Katrina. Perhaps more so than any disaster in US history. Getting back together in the midst of rescues and chaotic evacuations proved to be a hugely complex and difficult task. Inside the disaster area spouses were separated, children separated from both their parents and people outside the disaster area simply want to know if family members in the disaster area were alive. Often inside a disaster area, there basically is no communication resources functioning at all other than satellite phones and amateur radio transmitters.
Over the years of experience with major disasters a few agencies manage databases of people who are missing, others who are safe and seeking their stray family members. Few disaster victims in the disaster area will have Internet access and not all evacuees who are safely outside the disaster zone will be registered so they have to be tracked down. The telecommunications network is often for all practical purposes destroyed beyond repair. In a disaster with major flooding like Katrina, what happened to the telecommunications network in a large area of the disaster zone was compared by telecommunications experts to taking your computer and dunking it in a bathtub full of water. Even after your computer dries out it still isn't going to work.
The Red Cross has two different avenues to reunite separated family members within the disaster area and for those outside the disaster area to confirm that family members are safe.
First, the Red Cross's Disaster Welfare Inquiry Service is especially useful to people living outside the disaster zone desiring to check on family members within the disaster area. The Red Cross offers this service after every major disaster in the USA. To utilize the Red Cross Disaster Welfare Inquiry system from outside the disaster area you should contact your local Red Cross Chapter. A response to your inquiry will take time but you will eventually receive detailed information on your family member's location and status. You can find your local Red Cross Chapter by clicking this link: RED CROSS CHAPTER LOCATER and entering your ZIP CODE in the search field.
Second, the International Committee of
the Red Cross Red Crescent Family Links
Directory was been opened up to Katrina victims and their families. This service is
bilingual (English/French). Go to this link to access this voluntary
http://www.familylinks.icrc.org/home.nsf/home/webfamilylinks You can
also access this same database by telephone by calling a special Red Cross
(Which translates to 1-877-568-3317.)
To access other worthwhile online databases try the following links:
Craig's List (New Orleans Lost & Found)
Coast Guard Search & Rescue (The master list of Katrina victims rescued by the USCG and taken to safety)
More Disaster Information
How does your favorite charity rate? Click Here
Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance, Click Here
Hurricane Katrina Facts from Winkipedia, Click Here
Federal Emergency Management Agency News, Click Here
FEMA for KIDS, Click Here
FEMA/Red Cross Hurricanes for Kids, Click Here
Charity Tips from FEMA, Click Here
Louisiana Homeland Security Agency, Click Here
Louisiana Office of Emergency Preparedness, Click Here
Louisiana Governor's Office, Click Here
New Orleans Times-Picayune Newspaper, Click Here
Gulfport/Biloxi Sun Herald Newspaper, Click Here
Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, Click Here
Alabama Emergency Management Agency, Click Here
Alabama Department of Public Safety, Click Here
Disaster News Net from Church World Service, Click Here
National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, Click Here
WWL-TV in New Orleans, Click Here
Network For Good, Click Here
Craig's List for New Orleans, Click Here
Katrina.Com features links to helpful sites for Katrina victims, Click Here
Red Cross Disaster Assistance info, Call (866) GET-INFO (866-438-4636)
Red Cross "Be Prepared" Disaster Planning for Your Family, Click Here
Red Cross Disaster Supplies General Checklist, Click Here
Red Cross Family Disaster Kit Checklist, Click Here
Red Cross Personal Workplace Disaster Kit Checklist, Click Here
Learn how to prepare for and cope with disasters of all kinds yourself: Contact your local Red Cross Chapter. They offer free training to help you and your family get ready just in case. You can even volunteer as a Disaster Relief worker yourself through your local Red Cross. You can find your local Red Cross Chapter by clicking this link: RED CROSS CHAPTER LOCATER and entering your ZIP CODE in the search field.. They will set up free disaster preparedness training for you, your family or your group!
ASIAN TSUNAMI Relief News: The immediate response is over, the long term rebuilding will take years. Thank you to our site visitors who provided aid and comfort in a time of unprecedented need. For more information on Asian Tsunami Relief programs visit the Tragic96.Com Tsunami Relief Page, Click HERE!
About this page: It was compiled from many resources including news reports, web searches and the oversight of a former Magic 96.1 employee with over 20 years of volunteer disaster relief experience. If you know a good Disaster Relief or Preparedness site, submit their link using the information on the CONTACT US page on the main menu.
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