Be sure donations to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts get there

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In the wake of Hurricane Harvey in south Texas, residents of the Lowcountry have stepped up to make donations toward relief efforts.

Lists of donation sites for supplies and food can be found on various church and service organization sites. A list of local collection points and service opportunities is posted on the Bluffton Sun website at www.blufftonsun.com.

One reliable source for financial contributions is the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry's RAIN (Relief Assistance and Immediate Needs) Fund. The fund was created to help with recovery efforts for natural and manmade disasters. Learn more at www.cf-lowcountry.org.

Donors might prefer to donate funds directly to the Greater Houston Com-munity Foundation (www.ghcf.org), where Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has established the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund. www.ghcf.org/hurricane-relief.

Also on that site is a list of organizations that are accepting donations of food, water and other supplies, as well as volunteer opportunities.

When in doubt, choose an organization that is well established in the community. Denise K. Spencer, president and CEO of the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry, said, "Community foundations are generally good choices, as they are particularly adept at two things: 1) doing due diligence to assure the dollars are being used properly, and 2) they have the flexibility to direct grants to the areas of greatest need. In my experience, the American Red Cross is also a good choice, for the same reasons."

Other national non-profits also are accepting donations for relief efforts, including the Salvation Army and Samaritan's Purse.

Lesser known organizations might be legitimate, but consumers and donors should do their homework to make sure.

To avoid scams, research carefully any organizations with which you are not familiar. Charity Navigator (www.charitynavigator.org) is a good source to identify legitimate and worthy charities.

Be wary of campaigns that pop up on crowd-sourcing sites such as GoFundMe and Fundly. Unless you know the family or group who started a campaign, other sources might be a better way to help.

Visit the Consumer Information page of the Federal Trade Commission website and search for their article "Before Giving to a Charity" for tips on how to spot a charity scam (www.consumer.ftc .gov). After doing research, if there are still concerns about legitimacy, consider filing a complaint with the FTC.

This list was created by the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce.

Drop off Donations at these Lowcountry sites:
Rainbow International Restoration of the Lowcountry (322 Spanish Wells Road, Hilton Head Island): Bleach, brooms, rubber gloves, large trash bags, water, bug spray, sunscreen, snacks, paper products, medical supplies, hygiene items, and new socks.

Coastal Restaurant and Bars (CRAB) locations: Accepting gift card donations from national chains such as Wal-Mart, Target, Lowe's, and The Home Depot. Restaurants include Reilley's Grill & Bar, Reilley's North End Pub, The Crazy Crab, Aunt Chilada's Easy Street Cafe, The Boardroom, Carolina Crab Company and Fishcamp on Broad Creek.

Kroger Stores: Round up your bill to the nearest dollar for the Red Cross.

Ulmer Pharmacy, The Carriage Shop, Art Cafe, Lettres, and the Conviction training facility: Collecting cleaning and basic supplies for residents of Shoreacres, Texas. The donation effort is being organized by the Bluffton/Hilton Head Ask-Answer Facebook Group

American Red Cross
www.redcross.org | 800.733.2767
To Volunteer: www.redcross.org/volunteer
Text HARVEY to 90999 to donate $10.

Salvation Army
www.salvationarmyusa.org
1.800.SAL.ARMY (1.800.725.2769)
Text STORM to 51555.

Billy Graham Rapid Response Team
www.billygraham.org
877.247.2426

Food Bank of Corpus Christi
www.foodbankcc.com
(361) 887-6291

Food Bank of Houston
www.houstonfoodbank.org
(713) 223.3700

Houston Coalition for the Homeless
www.homelesshouston.org
(713) 739.7514

Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund
Greater Houston Community Foundation
https://ghcf.org/hurricane-relief/

South Texas Blood and Tissue Center
https://southtexasblood.org/harvey
(210) 731.5590

Texas Diaper Bank
www.texasdiaperbank.org
(210) 731.8118

United Way of Greater Houston
www.unitedwayhouston.org/flood
Text UWFLOOD to 41444

USA Direct Relief
www.directrelief.org/usa
(805) 964.4767

Houston Humane Society
www.houstonhumane.org

San Antonio Humane Society
https://sahumane.org

Galveston County Food Bank
www.galvestoncountyfoodbank.org

The Coalition for the Homeless
www.homelesshouston.org

Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (SBDR)
www.namb.net

Samaritan's Purse
www.samaritanspurse.org

Heart to Heart
www.hearttoheart.org


Austin Disaster Relief

www.adrn.org/give

Catholic Charities of Southeast Texas (Beaumont)

www.catholiccharitiesbmt.org

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