How you can make sure your donations help Harvey victims

A crucifix stands in front of a flooded church in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Harvey in Vidor, Texas, Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
A crucifix stands in front of a flooded church in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Harvey in Vidor, Texas, Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) (AP/Gerald Herbert)
Chris Kaplan, Betty Locklear
Chris Kaplan, right, hugs flood victim Betty Locklear during service at Christ United Church in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017, in Cypress, Texas. The church, which flooded last year, had just recovered before Harvey caused more damage forcing them to hold services inside their fellowship hall. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) (AP/David J. Phillip)
Texas State University, San Marcos, students Carson Asher and Alaniz Amillano sing during a worship service in the front lawn of the First Presbyterian Church of Dickinson on Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017, in Dickinson, Texas. The First Presbyterian Church of Dickinson was badly damaged in the floods from Harvey. Sunday was declared a day of prayer in Texas by Gov. Greg Abbott and across the nation by President Donald Trump. He and the first lady attended services at St. John's, an Episcopal church in Washington, a day after visiting Harvey evacuees in Houston and Louisiana. (Steve Gonzales/Houston Chronicle via AP)
Texas State University, San Marcos, students Carson Asher and Alaniz Amillano sing during a worship service in the front lawn of the First Presbyterian Church of Dickinson on Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017, in Dickinson, Texas. The First Presbyterian Church of Dickinson was badly damaged in the floods from Harvey. Sunday was declared a day of prayer in Texas by Gov. Greg Abbott and across the nation by President Donald Trump. He and the first lady attended services at St. John’s, an Episcopal church in Washington, a day after visiting Harvey evacuees in Houston and Louisiana. (Steve Gonzales/Houston Chronicle via AP) (AP/Steve Gonzales)
Jerry Hamilton, center prays with his son Jacob Hamilton, left, and wife Charisse Hamilton as the Pine Forest Baptist Church holds Sunday services in the parking lot outside their damaged church, in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Harvey in Vidor, Texas, Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017. The church was flooded from the storm and is currently unusable. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Jerry Hamilton, center prays with his son Jacob Hamilton, left, and wife Charisse Hamilton as the Pine Forest Baptist Church holds Sunday services in the parking lot outside their damaged church, in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Harvey in Vidor, Texas, Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017. The church was flooded from the storm and is currently unusable. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) (AP/Gerald Herbert)
Congregants
Congregants join hands as they sing at the end of a service at Christ United Church in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017, in Cypress, Texas. The church, which flooded last year, had just recovered before Harvey caused more damage, forcing them to hold service inside their fellowship hall. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) (AP/David J. Phillip)
George Jo Ann Lakadosch
George Lakadosch holds his wife’s, Jo Ann, hand as she wipes aways tears during service at Christ United Church in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017, in Cypress, Texas. The church, which flooded last year, had just recovered before Harvey caused more damage forcing them to hold service inside their fellowship hall. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) (AP/David J. Phillip)
FILE - In this Aug. 31, 2017 file photo, Alejandra Castillo takes a break from carrying water-soaked items out of her family's home after flood waters receded in Houston. Experts say Harvey’s filthy floodwaters pose significant dangers to human safety and the environment that will remain even after levels drop far enough that southeastern Texas residents no longer fear for their lives. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File)
FILE – In this Aug. 31, 2017 file photo, Alejandra Castillo takes a break from carrying water-soaked items out of her family’s home after flood waters receded in Houston. Experts say Harvey’s filthy floodwaters pose significant dangers to human safety and the environment that will remain even after levels drop far enough that southeastern Texas residents no longer fear for their lives. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File) (AP/Charlie Riedel)
Flooded homes
FILE – In this Aug. 29, 2017, file photo, homes are surrounded by floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey in Spring, Texas. Harvey’s filthy floodwaters pose significant dangers to human safety and the environment that will remain even after levels drop far enough that southeastern Texas residents no longer fear for their lives. Now its system faces an unprecedented challenge. Authorities say standing water will contain untreated sewage, along with spilled fuel and toxic waste. They’re urging residents to stay out of it when possible. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File) (AP/David J. Phillip)
FILE - In this Friday, Sept. 1, 2017 file photo, Sgt. Destry Riggs scans flooded areas during a search and rescue operation run by the 36th Combat Aviation Brigade of the Texas Army national Guard over areas hit by Tropical Storm Harvey, north of Beaumont, Texas. (Brett Coomer/Houston Chronicle via AP)
FILE – In this Friday, Sept. 1, 2017 file photo, Sgt. Destry Riggs scans flooded areas during a search and rescue operation run by the 36th Combat Aviation Brigade of the Texas Army national Guard over areas hit by Tropical Storm Harvey, north of Beaumont, Texas. (Brett Coomer/Houston Chronicle via AP) (AP/Brett Coomer)
Tammy Johnston drives a tractor into floodwaters to try to retrieve some belongs for her neighbor, in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Harvey in Orange, Texas, Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Tammy Johnston drives a tractor into floodwaters to try to retrieve some belongs for her neighbor, in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Harvey in Orange, Texas, Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) (AP/Gerald Herbert)
A house is seen flooded in Orange County, Texas, Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017, as water slowly recedes from Tropical Storm Harvey. Sunday was declared a day of prayer in Texas by Gov. Greg Abbott and across the nation by President Donald Trump. He and the first lady attended services at St. John's, an Episcopal church in Washington, a day after visiting Harvey evacuees in Houston and Louisiana. (Kim Brent/The Beaumont Enterprise via AP)
A house is seen flooded in Orange County, Texas, Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017, as water slowly recedes from Tropical Storm Harvey. Sunday was declared a day of prayer in Texas by Gov. Greg Abbott and across the nation by President Donald Trump. He and the first lady attended services at St. John’s, an Episcopal church in Washington, a day after visiting Harvey evacuees in Houston and Louisiana. (Kim Brent/The Beaumont Enterprise via AP) (AP/Kim Brent)
A truck driver moves through high water in front of a flooded church in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Harvey in Vidor, Texas, Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
A truck driver moves through high water in front of a flooded church in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Harvey in Vidor, Texas, Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) (AP/Gerald Herbert)
Jacob Hamilton
Jacob Hamilton bows his head in prayer as members of the Pine Forest Baptist Church hold Sunday services in the parking lot outside their damaged church, in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Harvey in Vidor, Texas, Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017. The church was flooded from the storm and is currently unusable. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) (AP/Gerald Herbert)
Kris Bauta
Father Kris Bauta celebrates Mass at St. Joseph Catholic Church which was damaged from the effects of Hurricane Harvey, Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017, in Port Aransas, Texas. The church and Port Aransas is still with out electricity. (AP Photo/Eric Gay) (AP/Eric Gay)
Church members gather to pray around flood victim Carlos Ochoa during Sunday service in the parking lot of the First Baptist Church Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017, in Humble, Texas. The church building was flooded with two feet of water from Hurricane Harvey prompting services to be held in the parking lot. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Church members gather to pray around flood victim Carlos Ochoa during Sunday service in the parking lot of the First Baptist Church Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017, in Humble, Texas. The church building was flooded with two feet of water from Hurricane Harvey prompting services to be held in the parking lot. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel) (AP/Charlie Riedel)
FILE - In this Friday, Sept. 1, 2017 file photo,  volunteers sort donated items in a makeshift distribution center set up among the cubicles of an office in Pasadena, Texas. Thousands of people have been displaced by torrential rains and catastrophic flooding since Harvey slammed into Southeast Texas last Friday. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)
FILE – In this Friday, Sept. 1, 2017 file photo, volunteers sort donated items in a makeshift distribution center set up among the cubicles of an office in Pasadena, Texas. Thousands of people have been displaced by torrential rains and catastrophic flooding since Harvey slammed into Southeast Texas last Friday. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File) (AP/Gregory Bull)
Volunteers sort donated items in a makeshift distribution center set up among the cubicles of an office Friday, Sept. 1,  2017, in Pasadena, Texas. Thousands of people have been displaced by torrential rains and catastrophic flooding since Harvey slammed into Southeast Texas last Friday. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Volunteers sort donated items in a makeshift distribution center set up among the cubicles of an office Friday, Sept. 1, 2017, in Pasadena, Texas. Thousands of people have been displaced by torrential rains and catastrophic flooding since Harvey slammed into Southeast Texas last Friday. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull) (AP/Gregory Bull)
A child's pair of cowboy boots sits along an aisle as volunteers sort donated items in a makeshift distribution center set up among the cubicles of an office Friday, Sept. 1,  2017,, in Pasadena, Texas. Thousands of people have been displaced by torrential rains and catastrophic flooding since Harvey slammed into Southeast Texas last Friday. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
A child’s pair of cowboy boots sits along an aisle as volunteers sort donated items in a makeshift distribution center set up among the cubicles of an office Friday, Sept. 1, 2017,, in Pasadena, Texas. Thousands of people have been displaced by torrential rains and catastrophic flooding since Harvey slammed into Southeast Texas last Friday. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull) (AP/Gregory Bull)
Paul England, Jr., Michael Brown
Paul England, Jr., right, helps Michael Brown check his truck for belongings outside his flooded home, in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Harvey, in Port Arthur, Texas, Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) (AP/Gerald Herbert)
A sign stands in floodwaters in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Harvey, in Port Arthur, Texas, Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
A sign stands in floodwaters in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Harvey, in Port Arthur, Texas, Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) (AP/Gerald Herbert)
In this arial photo, homes sit in floodwaters caused Tropical Storm Harvey in Port Arthur, Texas, Friday, Sept. 1, 2017.  Port Arthur's major roads were swamped by rising waters brought by Harvey(AP Photo/LM Otero)
In this arial photo, homes sit in floodwaters caused Tropical Storm Harvey in Port Arthur, Texas, Friday, Sept. 1, 2017. Port Arthur’s major roads were swamped by rising waters brought by Harvey(AP Photo/LM Otero) (AP/LM Otero)
(1/21)
A crucifix stands in front of a flooded church in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Harvey in Vidor, Texas, Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Chris Kaplan, Betty Locklear
Texas State University, San Marcos, students Carson Asher and Alaniz Amillano sing during a worship service in the front lawn of the First Presbyterian Church of Dickinson on Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017, in Dickinson, Texas. The First Presbyterian Church of Dickinson was badly damaged in the floods from Harvey. Sunday was declared a day of prayer in Texas by Gov. Greg Abbott and across the nation by President Donald Trump. He and the first lady attended services at St. John's, an Episcopal church in Washington, a day after visiting Harvey evacuees in Houston and Louisiana. (Steve Gonzales/Houston Chronicle via AP)
Jerry Hamilton, center prays with his son Jacob Hamilton, left, and wife Charisse Hamilton as the Pine Forest Baptist Church holds Sunday services in the parking lot outside their damaged church, in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Harvey in Vidor, Texas, Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017. The church was flooded from the storm and is currently unusable. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Congregants
George Jo Ann Lakadosch
FILE - In this Aug. 31, 2017 file photo, Alejandra Castillo takes a break from carrying water-soaked items out of her family's home after flood waters receded in Houston. Experts say Harvey’s filthy floodwaters pose significant dangers to human safety and the environment that will remain even after levels drop far enough that southeastern Texas residents no longer fear for their lives. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File)
Flooded homes
FILE - In this Friday, Sept. 1, 2017 file photo, Sgt. Destry Riggs scans flooded areas during a search and rescue operation run by the 36th Combat Aviation Brigade of the Texas Army national Guard over areas hit by Tropical Storm Harvey, north of Beaumont, Texas. (Brett Coomer/Houston Chronicle via AP)
Tammy Johnston drives a tractor into floodwaters to try to retrieve some belongs for her neighbor, in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Harvey in Orange, Texas, Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
A house is seen flooded in Orange County, Texas, Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017, as water slowly recedes from Tropical Storm Harvey. Sunday was declared a day of prayer in Texas by Gov. Greg Abbott and across the nation by President Donald Trump. He and the first lady attended services at St. John's, an Episcopal church in Washington, a day after visiting Harvey evacuees in Houston and Louisiana. (Kim Brent/The Beaumont Enterprise via AP)
A truck driver moves through high water in front of a flooded church in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Harvey in Vidor, Texas, Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Jacob Hamilton
Kris Bauta
Church members gather to pray around flood victim Carlos Ochoa during Sunday service in the parking lot of the First Baptist Church Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017, in Humble, Texas. The church building was flooded with two feet of water from Hurricane Harvey prompting services to be held in the parking lot. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
FILE - In this Friday, Sept. 1, 2017 file photo,  volunteers sort donated items in a makeshift distribution center set up among the cubicles of an office in Pasadena, Texas. Thousands of people have been displaced by torrential rains and catastrophic flooding since Harvey slammed into Southeast Texas last Friday. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)
Volunteers sort donated items in a makeshift distribution center set up among the cubicles of an office Friday, Sept. 1,  2017, in Pasadena, Texas. Thousands of people have been displaced by torrential rains and catastrophic flooding since Harvey slammed into Southeast Texas last Friday. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
A child's pair of cowboy boots sits along an aisle as volunteers sort donated items in a makeshift distribution center set up among the cubicles of an office Friday, Sept. 1,  2017,, in Pasadena, Texas. Thousands of people have been displaced by torrential rains and catastrophic flooding since Harvey slammed into Southeast Texas last Friday. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Paul England, Jr., Michael Brown
A sign stands in floodwaters in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Harvey, in Port Arthur, Texas, Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
In this arial photo, homes sit in floodwaters caused Tropical Storm Harvey in Port Arthur, Texas, Friday, Sept. 1, 2017.  Port Arthur's major roads were swamped by rising waters brought by Harvey(AP Photo/LM Otero)

WASHINGTON — The victims of Hurricane Harvey still have a long road in front of them. That’s not surprising, given the devastation.

Things have now shifted from a recovery mission into a rebuilding phase, and officials say the best way you can help is by donating money.

But tragedy often brings out the scammers.

So how can you find organizations that are trustworthy?

Kathleen Koch is the founder of Leaders Link, an organization that helps local leaders share disaster lessons so their communities are better prepared and recover more quickly.

She says we know about the big organizations people donate to following a major disaster, but there are smaller organizations that help on the ground in the smaller towns and communities which were hard-hit by Harvey.

But finding them will take a little work, she says. She suggests going to the website of a local television station, radio station or newspaper on the Texas coast.

“They’ve done articles on it and they’ve done the homework for you really,” Koch said. “So they’ll say, ‘Hey take a look at this organization, give to the South Texas Blood and Tissue Center, to the Food Bank of Corpus Christi, to the San Antonio Humane Society.”

Koch says you can also look for community foundations.

“These are groups that already exist that pool charitable donations to help worthy causes.”

Specifically, she recommends the Coastal Bend Community Foundation.

Their website actually has two Harvey funds set up that you can donate to. One is the Coastal Bend Disaster Recovery Group Recovery Fund and the other is the Mayor’s Hurricane Harvey Fund which was set up by the mayor of Corpus Christi, Joe McComb. His fund will help rebuild community infrastructure and help small local towns.

Koch also suggests going to individual websites of small towns in Texas that have been hard hit such as Rockport, Bayside and Aransas Pass.

She says sometimes you can get more information from their Facebook pages.

“I went to the Aransas Pass (Police Department) Facebook page and found out they have a gofundme campaign going on,” she said.

According to Koch, right now, the biggest need that a lot of towns have is volunteers.

“They need boots on the ground,” she said. “I got a really poignant email yesterday from the town of Stafford (located in the southwest part of Houston) and their emergency manager said most people don’t have the money to rebuild in their checking accounts. We need boots on the ground reaching out in person, going community to community, door to door to help.”

She says the emergency manager said that many people were not in a flood zone, so they don’t have insurance.

She also pointed out volunteer organizations such as “All Hands Volunteers” and the Cajun Army.

“They pre-vet the people whose homes you’re going to work on,” she said. “They make sure they’re the low income, the needy, senior citizens, folks who can’t help themselves. They provide you with tools.”

Koch says the Cajun Army might even give you a place to stay while you volunteer, which is very important in a disaster zone.

Copyright © 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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