How to help hurricane victims

WASHINGTON — For those who want to help people in areas hardest hit during hurricane season, giving to local organizations has its advantages.

“They know the needs. They have the contacts. They know what needs to be done,” said Ashley Post of Charity Navigator, a nonprofit that evaluates and ranks charities.

But locally-based groups may face the same issues as the victims they’re trying to help.

In that case, the national organizations that have mobilized to help might not face challenges related to flooding, loss of power and loss of internet.

“I think the connections the local organizations have to their communities are worth a lot,” Post said. “But it’s really the partnership of the organizations, local and national, working together that are going to bring the most relief and provide the most support and assistance.”

Ultimately, choosing where to give might just come down to personal preference, Post said. However people decide to help, money is the best way to give right now, she stressed.

“It’s easy to want to send clothes and want to send food, and those are certainly needs, but it’s really hard to get those physical items to people who need them,” Post said.

“Money will mobilize the charities that are there and working, giving them the resources they need to get those things.”

How to help Hurricane Harvey victims

Some of the Texas organizations Charity Navigator recommended include:

Charity Navigator on Tuesday added more than 40 nonprofits to its list of organizations providing direct relief to communities impacted by Harvey. The group says in a statement that the nonprofits are well-run, highly accountable and transparent. Check out the full list.

The Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance also recommends specific local charities to help victims of Harvey such as the United Way of Greater Houston.

National relief organizations that make both the BBB and Charity Navigator lists include:

Project HOPE is a Bethesda, Maryland-based, organization focused on global health education and humanitarian assistance. The organization is a four-star-rated charity by Charity Navigator. Gail Wilensky, a senior fellow at the organization, spoke with WTOP on Sept. 6 to discuss its efforts to keep people healthy in Houston after Harvey and how it’s helping prepare for Irma.

How to help Hurricane Irma victims

Find additional resources on PBS NewsHour’s website. 

How to help Hurricane Maria victims

Lake Charles rescue personnel help lower this wheelchair bound resident from the back of a vehicle late Monday night, Aug. 28, 2017, in Lake Charles, La., after flooding from Harvey's almost constant rain over the last two days overcame the city's drainage system, flooding several subdivisions and necessitating home rescues. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Lake Charles rescue personnel help lower this wheelchair bound resident from the back of a vehicle late Monday night, Aug. 28, 2017, in Lake Charles, La., after flooding from Harvey’s almost constant rain over the last two days overcame the city’s drainage system, flooding several subdivisions and necessitating home rescues. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis) (AP/Rogelio V. Solis)
Residents ride in the bed of an emergency vehicle carrying them to safety following flooding to their homes late Monday night, Aug. 28, 2017 in Lake Charles, La. Almost constant rain over the last two days from Harvey, overcame the city's drainage system, flooding several subdivisions and necessitating home rescues. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Residents ride in the bed of an emergency vehicle carrying them to safety following flooding to their homes late Monday night, Aug. 28, 2017 in Lake Charles, La. Almost constant rain over the last two days from Harvey, overcame the city’s drainage system, flooding several subdivisions and necessitating home rescues. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis) (AP/Rogelio V. Solis)
Evacuees from Tropical Storm Harvey arrive at Dallas Love Field on a military aircraft in Dallas on Monday, Aug. 28, 2017. Floodwaters reached the rooflines of single-story homes Monday and people could be heard pleading for help from inside as Harvey poured rain on the Houston area for a fourth consecutive day after a chaotic weekend of rising water and rescues. (David Woo/The Dallas Morning News via AP)
Evacuees from Tropical Storm Harvey arrive at Dallas Love Field on a military aircraft in Dallas on Monday, Aug. 28, 2017. Floodwaters reached the rooflines of single-story homes Monday and people could be heard pleading for help from inside as Harvey poured rain on the Houston area for a fourth consecutive day after a chaotic weekend of rising water and rescues. (David Woo/The Dallas Morning News via AP) (AP/David Woo)
Daryl Hudeck, Connie Aiden Pham
CORRECTS FROM CONNIE TO CATHERINE – Houston Police SWAT officer Daryl Hudeck carries Catherine Pham and her 13-month-old son Aiden after rescuing them from their home surrounded by floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey Sunday, Aug. 27, 2017, in Houston. The remnants of Hurricane Harvey sent devastating floods pouring into Houston Sunday as rising water chased thousands of people to rooftops or higher ground. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) (AP/David J. Phillip)
Lake Charles rescue personnel help residents exit from the back of a vehicle late Monday night, Aug. 28, 2017, in Lake Charles, La., after flooding from Harvey's almost constant rain over the last two days overcame the city's drainage system, flooding several subdivisions and necessitating home rescues. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Lake Charles rescue personnel help residents exit from the back of a vehicle late Monday night, Aug. 28, 2017, in Lake Charles, La., after flooding from Harvey’s almost constant rain over the last two days overcame the city’s drainage system, flooding several subdivisions and necessitating home rescues. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis) (AP/Rogelio V. Solis)
Flood evacuees
Rescue boats fill a flooded street as flood victims are evacuated as floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey rise Monday, Aug. 28, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) (AP/David J. Phillip)
Debris lies on the ground near homes in the Key Allegro subdivision of Rockport, Texas in the wake of Hurricane Harvey on Monday, Aug. 28, 2017. (Rachel Denny Clow/Corpus Christi Caller-Times via AP)
Debris lies on the ground near homes in the Key Allegro subdivision of Rockport, Texas in the wake of Hurricane Harvey on Monday, Aug. 28, 2017. (Rachel Denny Clow/Corpus Christi Caller-Times via AP) (AP/Rachel Denny Clow)
Debris is scattered around a trailer home in the wake of Hurricane Harvey in Refugio, Texas, Monday, Aug. 28, 2017. (Nick Wagner/Austin American-Statesman via AP)
Debris is scattered around a trailer home in the wake of Hurricane Harvey in Refugio, Texas, Monday, Aug. 28, 2017. (Nick Wagner/Austin American-Statesman via AP) (AP/Nick Wagner)
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott surveys damage during a tour of areas affected by Hurricane Harvey, on Monday, Aug. 28, 2017. Harvey hit the coast as a Category 4 hurricane. (Courtney Sacco/Corpus Christi Caller-Times via AP)
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott surveys damage during a tour of areas affected by Hurricane Harvey, on Monday, Aug. 28, 2017. Harvey hit the coast as a Category 4 hurricane. (Courtney Sacco/Corpus Christi Caller-Times via AP) (AP/Courtney Sacco)
Genice Gipson hugs her lifelong friend, Loretta Capistran, outside of Capistran's apartment complex in Refugio, Texas, on Monday, Aug. 28, 2017. "We got to be strong, baby," Gipson told Capistran. (Nick Wagner/Austin American-Statesman via AP)
Genice Gipson hugs her lifelong friend, Loretta Capistran, outside of Capistran’s apartment complex in Refugio, Texas, on Monday, Aug. 28, 2017. “We got to be strong, baby,” Gipson told Capistran. (Nick Wagner/Austin American-Statesman via AP) (AP/Nick Wagner)
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Lake Charles rescue personnel help lower this wheelchair bound resident from the back of a vehicle late Monday night, Aug. 28, 2017, in Lake Charles, La., after flooding from Harvey's almost constant rain over the last two days overcame the city's drainage system, flooding several subdivisions and necessitating home rescues. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Residents ride in the bed of an emergency vehicle carrying them to safety following flooding to their homes late Monday night, Aug. 28, 2017 in Lake Charles, La. Almost constant rain over the last two days from Harvey, overcame the city's drainage system, flooding several subdivisions and necessitating home rescues. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Evacuees from Tropical Storm Harvey arrive at Dallas Love Field on a military aircraft in Dallas on Monday, Aug. 28, 2017. Floodwaters reached the rooflines of single-story homes Monday and people could be heard pleading for help from inside as Harvey poured rain on the Houston area for a fourth consecutive day after a chaotic weekend of rising water and rescues. (David Woo/The Dallas Morning News via AP)
Daryl Hudeck, Connie Aiden Pham
Lake Charles rescue personnel help residents exit from the back of a vehicle late Monday night, Aug. 28, 2017, in Lake Charles, La., after flooding from Harvey's almost constant rain over the last two days overcame the city's drainage system, flooding several subdivisions and necessitating home rescues. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Flood evacuees
Debris lies on the ground near homes in the Key Allegro subdivision of Rockport, Texas in the wake of Hurricane Harvey on Monday, Aug. 28, 2017. (Rachel Denny Clow/Corpus Christi Caller-Times via AP)
Debris is scattered around a trailer home in the wake of Hurricane Harvey in Refugio, Texas, Monday, Aug. 28, 2017. (Nick Wagner/Austin American-Statesman via AP)
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott surveys damage during a tour of areas affected by Hurricane Harvey, on Monday, Aug. 28, 2017. Harvey hit the coast as a Category 4 hurricane. (Courtney Sacco/Corpus Christi Caller-Times via AP)
Genice Gipson hugs her lifelong friend, Loretta Capistran, outside of Capistran's apartment complex in Refugio, Texas, on Monday, Aug. 28, 2017. "We got to be strong, baby," Gipson told Capistran. (Nick Wagner/Austin American-Statesman via AP)

Editor’s note: This story was updated Sept. 5, 2017 to include a list released by Charity Navigator of more than 40 “highly rated” nonprofits to its list of organizations providing relief to communities impacted by Harvey. The story was updated again on Sept. 20, 2017 to include resources to help victims of hurricanes Irma and Maria.

WTOP’s Hanna Choi contributed to this report. 


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