What #HarveyRelief Needs

Cash.  

Plain and simple.  

A 2013 "How Stuff Works"  article points to the problems experienced in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.   The piles of donated clothing had no place to be stored.   Weeks later, clothing sat on the side of the road in piles of wet and rotting debris.

Texas is a PROUD STATE.   We take care of our neighbors.   There is no doubt that everyone wants to pitch in and help where they can.   Because of the love, I feel certain no one wants to add to the overwhelming problem of cleaning up and rebuilding after a disaster.  

SkillsUSA Texas is raising funds for #harveyrelief with the sell of a cool t-shirt.  Funds raised will directly benefit the Food Bank of Corpus Christi. Many people purchase a shirt and donate an extra amount.   This is a great way to provide support for #HarveyRelief

You can purchase and donate here:

 http://bit.ly/2iLkDm5

Below you'll see a list of the 10 worst things to donate during a crisis.   Please know, if you've already begun collecting for Harvey Relief, that's awesome.  Thank you so much.  We would like to encourage you to deliver your donations to a local collection site.   Or, sell them in a benefit yard sale and donate the cash instead.   

Even food is best delivered to a local food bank for several reasons.  1.  It's cheaper because of the lack of transport costs 2.  Food banks network and will send resources where needed in times of crisis

The 10 worst things to donate in a crisis?

10.  Clothing - there isn't anywhere to store clothing.   People have absolutely lost everything they own.  If they don't have a bed to sleep in, where can they store a new wardrobe?

9.  Shoes - In some cases, an organization will call for donations of a particular kind of footwear; flip-flops, for example, are lighter to ship and more useful in tropical climates. But in most cases, the best donation is cash. Relief organizations can use your money to buy bulk deliveries of sorted and sized shoes directly to the areas that need it most.

8.  Blankets - if a relief organization asks for blankets, by all means follow the instructions for packing and shipping the blankets to the right destination. But in most cases, the money and resources will be more efficiently spent if the organization buys blankets directly from suppliers or receives bulk donations from corporations and larger businesses.

7.  Teddy Bears - encourage people to give money instead to the United Way, which has set up a fund for the families of the victims. 

6.  Medicine - Disaster relief agencies and first responder units are usually well-stocked with the provisions to manage a medical crisis. When there is a need, they will work directly with drug companies and medical suppliers get the right supplies to the right place. A 1999 report from the World Health Organization issued guidelines for medical donations to disaster areas and war-torn regions. Among the common problems it saw were poorly labeled packaging, expired medications and drugs sent that had nothing to do with the medical problems on the ground. After a 1988 earthquake in Armenia, the country received 5,000 tons of drugs and medical supplies worth $55 million. It took a staff of 50 people six months just to catalogue the donations, most of which were only labeled with brand names; less than half were useful for emergency medical needs. During the war for independence in Eritrea in 1989, seven truckloads of expired aspirin were donated, which took six months to burn [source: WHO].

5.  Pet Supplies - delivering big bags of pet food is not the best use of resources.   If you want to help animals during a disaster, don't send heavy bags of pet food and litter. Donate to the American Humane Association or the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which will ensure that animals receive the food, shelter and medical care that they need.

4.  Mixed Items - FEMA strongly encourages people to refrain from shipping mixed boxes of relief supplies to disaster areas. The effort required to sort unsolicited donations is a strain on volunteer resources and a waste of funds (yours, the government's, and relief organizations'). If you coordinate with a relief agency to donate a specific item, make sure that your boxes are well-packed and sealed, and that the contents of the boxes are clearly labeled on the outside, saving the need to open them up.

3.  Food and Bottled Water - Who can forget the plight of thousands of displaced New Orleans citizens after Hurricane Katrina flooded large sections of the city in 2005? The stranded residents were temporarily housed in the city's convention center, which lacked adequate food and water [source: Haygood]. For three desperate days, the world watched as one of the wealthiest countries in the world failed to provide basic resources for those in greatest need. The botched response to Katrina reinforces the myth that food and water are the best things to donate after a disaster. While it's true that disaster relief agencies and food banks always need nonperishable food and bottled water, individual collections of food shipped to disaster sites are not the best way to provide those critical resources. Remember that every box of donations has to be opened, inspected and sorted. Food requires much closer inspection that other donations, because cans could be expired or damaged, at which point they become a health risk to the survivors. Then the food needs to be organized by type, repackaged and distributed to the people who need it the most. As with other types of disaster relief, food is something best left to the professionals. They have the infrastructure and the resources to distribute hot meals directly to the hardest hit areas. And they work with food banks that can supply inexpensive bulk items -- both nonperishable and fresh -- through established networks of local suppliers at low cost or free [source: Fessler]. Consequently, the best way to supply food is to donate nonperishable items to local food banks so they are well-stocked for emergencies, and to donate money to disaster relief organizations. Here's another reason that cash is preferred, particularly for overseas disasters: Not only do relief organizations save money on shipping, they can often purchase the food close to the disaster zone, which helps to revive the local economy of the hard-hit nation.

2.  Unsolicited Help - When we see images on TV of families with roofless houses or damaged walls, a check doesn't seem like enough. We want to drive down to the disaster area with a dozen buddies, sturdy boots and a box of tools, and get to work. But that might not be the best course of action. In Joplin, Mo., thousands of volunteers descended on the town, brimming with good intentions, but clueless about the complicated work of disaster cleanup and recovery. In response, the neighboring Indiana Department of Homeland Security had to release the following message: "Well-meaning individuals who simply show up to help without prior contact or coordination with disaster management personnel in Missouri can further complicate or even hinder response and recovery operations already underway."

1.  Money to the Wrong People - We've stressed the importance of donating cash rather than goods in times of disasters. But, beware of people who set up phony charitable organizations to scam generous donors. The problem is so serious that the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) established the National Center for Disaster Fraud to investigate and prosecute these cases. Be careful about responding to e-mails that solicit donations on behalf of people claiming to be victims of a natural disaster. The e-mail may not only be a front for a scam operation, it could contain computer viruses or worms. Also, pay close attention to the name of the organization soliciting donations. Scammers often use subtle misspellings of recognized international organizations to fool unsuspecting donors [source: DOJ]. Texting is a simple and fast way to contribute to a cause. But again, watch out for phony organizations that will run up texting charges on your phone. This is known in fraud circles as "cramming" [source: Oregon Department of Justice]. If you notice odd charges on your phone bill, notify your carrier immediately. If you feel leery about donating cash because you don't recognize the name of the organization (or even if you do, you aren't sure of their track record), you can run a background check using sites like GuideStar and Charity Navigator. They'll tell you how long the charity has been in business, what percentage of donations go to administrative costs and other useful information.


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