9/12/17 - How To Help - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

9/12/17 - How To Help

By Scott Thomas
KFVS12 Vice President and General Manager

In the wake of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, we are seeing widespread suffering and destruction in the media almost non-stop. Here in the Heartland, we have experienced our share of tornadoes, floods, and ice storms, and many of us have received help and donations from neighbors near and far. So, it's only natural for us to want to help, as we should.

But, there's a right way, and a wrong way to help. Humanitarian workers call un-needed donations "the second disaster." Donations like used clothing, old household items, and perishable food takes precious time away from disaster agencies recovery efforts.  They are saddled with having to sort, package, transport, warehouse, and distribute items that victims may not even need.

So, instead of opening your closet or pantry, it's better to open your wallet. Financial contributions to a recognized disaster relief organization is the most effective way to help. Established charities have local partnerships and can use your money to buy things, often at significantly reduced prices. With just $25, the red cross can provide basic necessities like toothpaste, soap, shampoo, and food for 10 people during a disaster. Additionally, buying goods closer to the disaster zone reduces shipping costs, and can help the struggling local economy recover.  

If you still want to donate clothes, food, or supplies, talk to an established charity that is on the scene, or one that is going to the area, to confirm what is needed BEFORE you donate. That way your efforts help, and won’t make things worse.

I'm Scott Thomas, and that's our ViewPoint.

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