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

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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