Today more than ever, people in the southeast and the Caribbean need our help. The massive damage caused by the horrible onslaught of hurricanes this year is beyond imagining. Authorities say that Puerto Rico and nearby islands are a full-blown humanitarian crisis, with an immediate need for lifesaving supplies and years of work ahead to restore a normal life. Government aid is on the way to all the disaster areas, and it will help – but it is never enough. Private donations will make a huge difference to the victims.
Wanting to help is great, but be careful. There have always been con artists, but these days they have it much easier than ever before. The Internet makes it easy to give – and easy for unscrupulous people to take. Protect yourself and make sure your money goes where you intend.
First, select your charity with care. The old standbys are the safest. You have options, depending on who you want to help.
The Red Cross is in all of the disaster areas, feeding people and providing rudimentary shelter where it can. They opened shelters in 8 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Red Cross has served more than 4.1 million meals and snacks, and provided more than 1.4 million relief items to people in need. More than 5,200 Red Cross disaster workers and more than 290 emergency response vehicles are on the ground right now, helping thousands of people affected by these storms.
To help, go to their website at http://www.redcross.org
Catholic Charities is mounting a big effort, and 100 per cent of your donations go directly to disaster relief efforts. text CCUSADISASTER to 71777 or visit www.catholiccharitiesusa.org to donate.
Another hardworking group is Samaritan’s Purse. They airlifted generators, food, and more for many thousands of people. Donate at http://www.samaritanspurse.org.
Of all the hurricane disaster zones, Puerto Rico needs help most of all. The First Lady of Puerto Rico is spearheading a campaign that provides help directly to the people of this beleaguered island. Go to their official website at http://unidosporpuertorico.com/.
Lastly, if you’re in a position to send a truckload of food, water or clothing, one group who can handle that is NVOAD – the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster. For information visit nvoad.org.
I’m Len Wilcox, and that’s the Western View, sponsored by Citrus Industry Magazine. Visit us on the web at citrusindustry.net.