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Monetary donations allow voluntary organizations to respond quickly to the recovery efforts and provide direct financial assistance to disaster survivors.
The best way for individuals to assist people facing disaster is to make a financial donation to one of the voluntary organizations currently working in those areas. Researching the work of organizations will help you determine where to direct your donation.
The National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (NVOAD) continue to support Harvey relief operations in Texas and are ready to support any operations in Florida for Irma. To learn more go to their page dedicated to Harvey Assistance.
For a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)'s containing information and links to questions most commonly asked during Irma and based on the recent experience of Harvey.
Individuals can text "Irma" to 898-211 for assistance.
The United Way of Greater Houston is raising funds to help those impacted by Hurricane Harvey. They have launched the 'United Way Relief Fund' to help meet storm-related needs and recovery in the community. You can also find information on helping all areas impacted by Hurricane Harvey and disaster relief from the United Ways of Texas.
If you need assistance with cleanup after the storm, call 1-800-451-1954 or 844-965-1386 to be placed on a list. Disaster recovery organizations will contact you if they are able to help you with clean-up efforts in your area.
To find a shelter, visit the American Red Cross for a list of current open shelters.
Texas has also established a Harvey Relief Fund to aid in disaster recovery efforts. Visit their website for more information on these efforts.
Interested donors can visit www.interaction.org to obtain a list of credible responding agencies for international emergencies. InterAction is an alliance organization with over 180 non-governmental U.S.-based organizations that work around the world. These organizations are committed to working with the world's poor and vulnerable. Give.org also offers valuable, unbiased information on making informed decisions when supporting charities. In addition, donors can visit www.globalgiving.org.
The American Red Cross Online Disaster Newsroom is a good resource for current information on the organization's activities.
The United Way and its partners work to rebuild lives and communities struck by disasters.
Charity Navigator, an independent organization that evaluates charitable efforts and works to advance a more efficient and responsive philanthropic marketplace by evaluating the financial health of over 5,500 of America's largest charities, offers advice on how your money will best be spent and evaluates emergency response efforts.
From FEMA - For those interested in learning more about how best to donate or provide assistance in response to national disasters, click here.
To verify the legitimacy of any organization you can check Charitable Registration Section of the NJ Attorney General's website, or call 973-504-6215. Because the website is only updated monthly, any new charity set up for a unique emergency relief and recovery effort may not be posted yet. With this in mind, it is probably best to call for the most current listing.
The FBI released recommendations on how consumers can protect themselves against fraudulent relief appeals. Internet users who receive appeals to donate money are urged to apply a critical eye and do their due diligence before responding to those requests. Past tragedies and natural disasters have prompted individuals with criminal intent to solicit contributions purportedly for a charitable organization and/or a good cause. Read the most recent FBI recommended guidelines here.
You can find more information on spotting and avoiding common scams, fraud and schemes here.
When Disaster Strikes... How to Donate or Volunteer Successfully! (pdf) by DHS/FEMA