How to Help Hurricane Matthew Victims

Care2 members are some of the kindest, passionate, most generous people around, and we know that you’re worried about the people affected by Hurricane Matthew in the Caribbean and the United States. This devastating storm is the most horrific since Katrina, and communities will be spending years in recovery. We’ve rounded up some resources for those of you who want to help people get back on their feet as quickly as possible.

Haiti, the Bahamas, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, are all experiencing hardships related to Hurricane Matthew, with Haiti hit particularly hard. As of Friday morning, over 800 people had been killed in Haiti, a number that is likely to rise.

In the United States, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia are all bracing for the storm, with evacuation recommendations and orders in a number of areas as the hurricane begins to make landfall in Florida.

USAID, which coordinates international relief efforts on behalf of the United States, reminds those who want to help victims that cash is nearly always the best support available. The logistics of transporting, sorting and distributing in-kind donations can consume valuable resources, while aid groups can use cash to get what they need, when they need it, often at discounts not available to the general public. Unless an organization specifically requests such donations, send cash! It is also not advisable to earmark funds — if your money can’t be used directly on Matthew-related activity, it will go to another good cause.

The following organizations are among those deploying people and supplies in the U.S. and/or abroad: CARE, Catholic Relief Services, Save the Children, UNICEF, Food for the Poor, the American Red Cross, the International Red Cross/Red Crescent Society, Tzu Chi Buddhist Relief, the Humane Society of the United States, Doctors Without Borders, United Way, International Medical Corps, Oxfam, Americares, World Vision, Operation Blessing International, Direct Relief, Mercy Corps, Handicap International, Lutheran World Relief, International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), ASPCA and Samaritan’s Purse.

Animal lovers living near the evacuation zone in the U.S. may want to check in with their local shelters. Some, like these ones in Washington, D.C., are accepting evacuated animals that need to be fostered or adopted, and if you can provide housing, you could save a life.

Before you take out your credit card, take ten minutes to make sure you are giving wisely. You can use tools like Guidestar, Charity Watch and Charity Navigator to look up information about these charities, including ratings on how efficiently and effectively they use their resources. Be aware that charity scams are an unfortunate side effect of major humanitarian disasters: Before giving to an organization, always check to see if it’s listed and watch out for ringers, cleverly named charities that sound legit, but actually aren’t.

Bona fide charities will have entries on one or more of these sites, and they should furnish you with an annual report, including tax declarations, upon request (it’s usually a snap to find on their website).

If you get a call from a solicitor claiming to represent a charity, be suspicious: Thank the solicitor for calling and contact the charity directly, whether online or by phone, if you want to make a donation. Emails or phone calls from people you don’t know claiming to need help should also be viewed with suspicion.

Photo credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

60 comments

Ruth R.
Ruth Rabout a year ago

Thank you for the information.

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Jennifer F.
Jennifer Fabout a year ago

I can't help them but I do support our local and city help with donations.

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallusabout a year ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Kristal Marks
Kristal Mabout a year ago

Every little bit helps

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Justyna L.
Justyna Labout a year ago

Tyfs

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Bayla D.
.about a year ago

Thank you for the timely information.

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Janet B.
Janet Babout a year ago

Thanks

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Rachel L.
Rachel -about a year ago

Tyfs. Haiti in particular is tragic.

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Sandra Harrity
Sandra Harrityabout a year ago

When an earthquake hit Haiti years ago, money was raised. The Haitian people are still living in shacks with no running water. What happened to all the money that was raised for them?

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Co L.
Co Labout a year ago

Thank you for posting so much helpful information about reaching charities! It's incredibly informative, and much appreciated! Well written article.

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