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Helping flood victims in Louisiana

Special to The Leader

 

About a month ago, we wrote about floods in West Virginia and now we sadly note that Louisiana has also experienced devastating floods as well. The Louisiana Governor’s office reports that over 12,000 went to shelters in Southern Louisiana and many thousands more are displaced from their homes. In the aftermath of such misery, people are seeking safety, food and shelter. Many Americans will want to help by donating to various charities. In such circumstances, it makes sense to turn to established charities that have experience, facilities and procedures in place to deal with such tragedies. Listed below are some of the national charities that are BBB Accredited Charities (i.e., that meet all 20 BBB Charity Standards) that are engaged in some aspect of relief.

 

In addition, we suggest that donors keep the following tips in mind to help avoid questionable appeals for support: 

 

Find out if the charity has an on-the-ground presence in the impacted areas. Unless the charity already has staff in the affected areas, it may be difficult to bring in new aid workers to provide assistance quickly. See if the charity’s website clearly describes what the charity can do to address immediate needs.

 

Find out if the charity is providing direct aid or raising money for other groups.Some charities may be raising money to pass along to relief organizations. If so, you may want to consider “avoiding the middleman” and giving directly to those that have a presence in the region. Or, at a minimum, check out the ultimate recipients of these donations to see whether they are equipped to provide aid effectively.

 

Gifts of clothing, food or other in-kind donations. In-kind drives for food and clothing, while well intentioned, may not necessarily be the quickest way to help those in need – unless the organization has the staff and infrastructure to distribute such aid properly. Ask the charity about its transportation and distribution plans. Be wary of those who are not experienced in disaster relief assistance.

 

Understand crowdfunding. Keep in mind that some crowdfunding sites do very little vetting of individuals who decide to post for assistance after a disaster, and it is often difficult for donors to verify trustworthiness of crowdfunding requests for support.  The Office of the Attorney General in Louisiana issued a statement on August 16th announcing that it would be working with the crowdfunding site GoFundMe to add additional fraud protections to help ensure donations to help flood victims go to the intended cause.

CHARITIES ENGAGED IN LOUISIANA RELIEF

Note that BBB Wise Giving Alliance report links are for the national offices of these organizations.

  • American Red Cross:  link to BBB Charity Report, link to donation page forLouisiana Relief
  • Salvation Army: link to BBB Charity Report, link to donation page for Louisiana Relief
  • Feed the Children: link to BBB Charity Report, link to donation page for Louisiana Relief
  • Feeding America: link to BBB Charity Report, link to  Louisiana Food Banks
  • United Way Worldwide: link to BBB Charity Report, link to Louisiana United Ways
  • Brother’s Brother Foundation: link to BBB Charity Report, link to donation page for Louisiana Relief
  • Direct Relief: link to BBB Charity Report, link to donation page for Louisiana Relief

 

For More Information

To find out more about other scams, check out BBB Scam Stopper (bbb.org/scam). To report a scam, go to BBB Scam Tracker at http://www.bbb.org/scamtracker/southeast-texas/. For further information, call 409/835-5348 or 855/BBB-SETX.