The floods devastating Louisiana have been the worst natural disaster in the U.S. since Hurricane Sandy that hit four years ago, according to the Red Cross. The Governor’s office of Louisiana reports that over 12,000 people were displaced from their homes and evacuated to shelters in Southern Louisiana. The aftermath of this super storm leaves thousands seeking food, shelter and safety. As people look for these necessities, many have volunteered their time joining organizations.
For people outside of Louisiana who would like to provide support to the flood victims, BBB serving give advice on ways you can help the flood victims in Louisiana:
- Find out if the charity has an on-the-ground presence in the impacted areas. Unless the charity already has staff in the affected areas, it may be difficult to bring in new aid workers to provide assistance quickly. See if the charity’s website clearly describes what the charity can do to address immediate needs.
- Find out if the charity is providing direct aid or raising money for other groups. Some charities may be raising money to pass along to relief organizations. If so, you may want to consider “avoiding the middleman” and giving directly to those that have a presence in the region. Or, at a minimum, check out the ultimate recipients of these donations to see whether they are equipped to provide aid effectively.
- Gifts of clothing, food or other in-kind donations. In-kind drives for food and clothing, while well intentioned, may not necessarily be the quickest way to help those in need – unless the organization has the staff and infrastructure to distribute such aid properly. Ask the charity about its transportation and distribution plans. Be wary of those who are not experienced in disaster relief assistance.
- Understand crowdfunding. Keep in mind that some crowdfunding sites do very little vetting of individuals who decide to post for assistance after a disaster, and it is often difficult for donors to verify trustworthiness of crowdfunding requests for support. The Office of the Attorney General in Louisiana issued a statement on August 16th announcing that it would be working with the crowdfunding site GoFundMe to add additional fraud protections to help ensure donations to help flood victims go to the intended cause.
For more information on specific charities, click here. To keep up with the latest business and consumer news visit BBB’s News Blog on bbb.org. If you have any questions or concerns, give us a call at (858) 496-2131.