Portland, OR. Photos are streaming in with images of the damage from Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Harvey. In Florida, more than seven million people have been evacuated from the state, with tens of thousands huddling in shelters. At least 170,000 homes are without power as the 350 miles wide storm unleashes deadly winds and rain.

Gretchen Summer, 79, and her son, Dave Payson, 52, take shelter from Hurricane Irma inside the Germain Arena in Estero, Florida.

Authorities are asking for the resources they need to help victims recover. Food, clothing and supplies might be the first thing people think to donate; however, cash donations are often more helpful. When items are donated, volunteers have to divert their attention to separating, distributing and storing. “Monetary donations are the most flexible and can be used immediately in response to a crisis,” Divisional Communications Director of the Salvation Army Dulcinea Kimrey said.

It allows the organization to purchase exactly what is needed, when it is needed, Kimrey said.

“Cash gives relief organizations the means to procure supplies near the affected area, which cuts down on transportation time and cost,” Kimrey said.

Make sure to send money to a reputable charity. Check if the charity is trustworthy by visiting Charity Navigator, which uses a team of professional analysts to examine tens of thousands of charities.

Charity Navigator says consider donating to these organizations to help Hurricane Harvey victims: 

(Click the name of the nonprofit for a link.)
United Way 
Team Rubicon, a veteran-led disaster response team
SPCA of Texas
The Humane Society of the United States’ Disaster Relief Fund
Animal Defense League of Texas
Austin Pets Alive
The American Red Cross
Feeding Texas
Houston Food Bank
Galveston Food Bank
Corpus Christi Food Bank
Coalition for the Homeless of Houston
Airbnb
Go Fund Me
Portlight
Texas Diaper Bank
Star of Hope Mission
Hope for Haiti
UNICEF USA
GlobalGiving
Direct Relief
Samaritan’s Purse

“One America Appeal is a joint appeal by all five living former American Presidents to encourage their fellow citizens to support recovery efforts from Hurricane Harvey — which inundated the Texas Gulf Coast with unprecedented flooding. This special appeal will be expanded to include Hurricane Irma now approaching the mainland United States,” the One America Appeal website reads.

“Hurricane Harvey brought terrible devastation – but it also brought out the best in humanity. As former Presidents, we wanted to come together and join our fellow citizens in supporting Houston and the communities along the Gulf Coast as they rebuild.”

Charity Navigator says consider donating to these organizations to help Hurricane Irma victims: 

(Click the name of the nonprofit for a link.)

Operation Blessing International

DonorsChoose.org

ShelterBox USA

International Relief Teams

International Medical Corps

American Kidney Fund

UNICEF USA

SOS Children’s Villages-USA

Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago

MedShare

Samaritan’s Purse

Operation USA

Oxfam America

American Red Cross

Direct Relief

World Vision

Helping Hand for Relief and Development

GlobalGiving

Save the Children

Heart to Heart International

Americares

Catholic Relief Services

During emergencies and disaster situations, the blood supply might run low due to the increased quantity needed. Donating blood helps to save lives in the emergency room.

Phlebotomist checking line while a patient donates blood in hospital. (asiseeit/Getty Images)

The Red Cross urges eligible donors to give blood or platelets to help ensure life-saving blood products are available for trauma patients and others with serious medical needs.

“It’s the blood products on the shelves that helps save lives in an emergency,” said Trish Sablitz, Red Cross director of Donor Recruitment for the Connecticut & Massachusetts Blood Services Region. “When seconds matter, having a readily-available blood supply is critical to trauma patient care.”

Recovery lasts longer than a few days, and disaster areas can take years to recover fully. If donations run out within the first few days, volunteers no longer have the resources and funds to help.

More information is available at https://www.charitynavigator.org/

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