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Dorian’s devastation: How to help

People are looking for ways to help those impacted by Hurricane Dorian.

In the wake of a large-scale disasters like this, authorities warn people to be wary of giving to unknown charities. Charity officials say the best thing to donate is cash. Clothing, furniture, cars, toys all create a logistical nightmare for charities. Organizations like food banks can purchase greater quantities of  food at discounted rates if you make a cash donation.

“Be wary of charities that spring up too suddenly in response to current events and natural disasters,” the Federal Trade Commission website warns. The FTC also urges close vetting of solicitations posted on places like Facebook and Twitter.

The watchdog group Charity Navigator laid out five steps to make sure your donation makes the most impact:

  • Be proactive in your giving –  identify causes are important to you, and be specific about the impact you want your donation to have.
  • Research before giving – Determine if the charity is a bona fide, tax exempt 501(c)(3) public charity. The charity should be financially healthy to support their mission. Lastly the organization should be accountable and transparent.
  • Find out the charities  accomplishments, goals, and challenges. If the charity cannot define these, it’s probably not worthy of your support.
  • Determine if lump sum donations or continuing donations through out the year would be best.
  • Follow up in six months to see how the charity used your donation.

Connecticut Sun star Jonquel Jones is raising money for her native Bahamas. Stamford-based Americares is has relief supplies in place in Florida. Feeding America coordinates with local food banks to help impacted areas.

Here is a list of recommended charities from Charity Navigator:

World Hope International

American Red Cross

Heart to Heart International

Children’s Hunger Fund

Good360

Mercy Corps

GlobalGiving

Water Mission

World Vision

SBP

Americares

All Hands and Hearts Smart Response

American Kidney Fund

International Relief Teams

International Medical Corps

Coast Guard Foundation

First Book

Direct Relief

Project HOPE

Matthew 25: Ministries

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