A couple of days ago, I was immensely impressed by friend Hattie of Hattie's Web. Although she is engaged in a fierce battle with cancer, she empathized with the victims of Hurricane Harvey. Further, she was thoughtful enough to enquire about the best means of helping those victims. Kudos!
In several of our local media outlets (TV, newspaper, radio), this morning, appeared a well-written answer to Hattie's question. The news release, from Kansas Division of Emergency Management (KDEM), gave an answer that was so much better than mine. I must share it (below). Although it specifically addresses Hurricane Harvey, the advice holds for nearly any natural disaster. I've worked with the KDEM folks on several Kansas disasters. They do great work!
TOPEKA, Kan. (Release) The Kansas Division of Emergency Management is urging Kansans who wish to help the victims of Hurricane Harvey on the Gulf Coast, to donate money to a reputable volunteer, charitable or faith-based organization rather than sending food, clothing or other goods.
“Too often, well-meaning people send clothing, diapers, and other items to disaster stricken areas, but their donations end up unused or even discarded,” said Angee Morgan, deputy KDEM director. “The reason is that these goods must be sorted, packaged and stored until they can be distributed, which diverts manpower from other tasks and requires a place to warehouse the items. In some areas, there may not be any place available to do this. Also, there is often a surplus of one thing and not enough of another.”
Transporting and distributing the goods also requires manpower that can be better used in other capacities. Food must also be stored until used. If there is no refrigeration available, perishable foods may become unusable before they can be distributed. Even nonperishable goods can be a problem; one can only use so many cans of green beans.
Donating money allows human services agencies to purchase exactly what is needed when it is needed and does not waste resources. It also puts money back into the local economy, helping local businesses recover faster.