Be sure donations to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts get there
Lynne Cope Hummell
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:
American Red Cross
Texas Diaper Bank