Sandra Bullock donates $1 million to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts

Francis Osborne
September 1, 2017

Fundraising services like the GoFundMe campaigns established to help Harvey victims pose the same risks if they are not tied to established organizations.

Any time a natural disaster hits our country, such as tornadoes or hurricanes, we are obviously very concerned about the loss of human life.

Many of those victims will rely not only on federal and state assistance, but the charitable acts of their fellow citizens, some of whom, eager to open their wallets, will become prey to online scams heartlessly siphoning funds away from those who've lost almost everything.

If you want to help but worry about how your donations will be used, here are tips for smart giving. In addition to volunteering staff time, the Sacramento Kings will call upon their fans to donate as they purchase game tickets for the 2017-18 season. While most new organizations are led by people moved to make a difference, some are opportunists committing fraud, like the founders of the Hurricane Sandy Relief Foundation.

Be cautious when donating online.

Scams could try to take advantage of people by telephone, social media, email, or through in-person solicitation. The Red Cross also prepositioned blood products in Houston ahead of the storm to help ensure we can maintain an adequate blood supply over the weekend. While there are a lot of immediate needs, Palmer says, "charities are going to need support on the long haul". Again, these charities need money - not boxes of diapers you picked up at Costco. As the BBB points out, unless an organization already has staff in an area, it can be hard to bring in rescue workers quickly to offer assistance.

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Houston-based ConocoPhillips Co., the world's largest independent, said late Wednesday it would increase its donation to $5 million, with another $2.5 million directed to the American Red Cross. Some charities might be focused on long-term rebuilding and others are a middleman for other nonprofits.

The United Way of Greater Houston flood relief fund will be used to help with immediate needs as well as long-term services like minor home fix.

Be wary of certain promises and tactics.

IICF said it will collect and report on the total of all donations made through this fund, and forward 100 percent of the insurance industry contributions to the local nonprofits assisting victims in the area, including the American Red Cross and specifically its Hurricane Harvey disaster fund. Customer donations will be accepted at special-marketed coin boxes located at the checkstands in all Ralphs and Food 4 Less stores in Southern California, as well as at the company's 21 stores in Central and Northern California, and at 14 Food 4 Less stores serving the greater Chicago, Illinois area.

Mexico is no stranger to helping USA authorities in disaster zones. But occasionally charities are looking for specific items and are willing to haul it to those in need. "You've got to stay strong and hold onto faith".

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