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THE BEST WAY TO HELP VICTIMS OF HURRICANES KATRINA AND RITA

Updated August 27, 2010

The best way to help victims of Hurricane KatrinaCharityWatch announces its top-rated charities which continue offering services to the victims of the 2005 Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in the Southeast U.S. Hurricane Katrina devastated major cities along the Gulf coast, including New Orleans, Biloxi and Mobile, with strong winds up to 140 mph in some areas and flooding. Not long afterwards, Hurricane Rita severely damaged small coastal communities including Lake Charles and Holly Beach in Louisiana and Port Arthur and Beaumont in southeast Texas.

Five years after the storms, recovery has been uneven and a great deal of work remains to be done. Residents of the Gulf are recovering not only from the storms, but also the recession and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. A tight job and rental market are making in particularly difficult for low-income hurricane victims to recover. According to Census estimates, the New Orleans metro area has regained 91% of its pre-Katrina population, but only 78% of the population has returned to the city itself.

CharityWatch, a leading charity watchdog that issues letter grade (A+ to F) ratings of nonprofit groups, identifies the following relief charities, which are providing aid to the victims. These charities have received an “A” or “B” grade based on the portion of their budget going to program services and their fundraising efficiency.

Charities with a “*” have also provided aid to victims of Hurricane Rita.

Note: Links will open in a new window

· American Friends Service Committee (A-)
  1-888-588-2372

*American Red Cross (A)
  1-800-435-7669

· Habitat for Humanity International - National Office (B+)
  1-800-422-4828

· International Rescue Committee (A+)
  1-877-733-8433

*MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger (A+)
  1-800-813-0557

· Oxfam-America (A-)
  1-800-776-9326

*Salvation Army (A)
  1-800-725-2769

*Save the Children (A+)
  1-800-728-3843

*World Vision (A-)
  1-888-511-6598

Give generously, but wiselyThese charities perform favorably in relation to CharityWatch benchmarks:

1) A charity should spend at least 75% of its budget on program services.
2) Charities should spend no more than $25 to raise $100.

Contact your favorite charities to find out if they provide the specific types of aid that you would like to fund, e.g., emergency relief, health care, infrastructure development, education, etc.

DONORS BEWARE
Americans wanting to help the hurricane victims should send contributions to only those charities with an established track record of helping people in this region.

Tips for Making the Most of Your Donation:

The devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina· Give to newly created charities only if you have reliable third-party verification of their credibility and/or have knowledge of and trust the officers and directors of the new group.

· Do not assume that a claimed celebrity endorsement is real or that the celebrity has adequately scrutinized the charity.

· Give with check or credit card instead of cash. There is little assurance that coin or currency donations will actually go to the intended beneficiary.

· Be cautious about giving to individual disaster victims that show up on covers of magazines or on television. Unpublicized victims may be more in need than publicized victims who are often flooded with gifts.

· Be cautious about giving in response to a telemarketing call. If you decide to donate, make sure you have reviewed all the information from the charity and ask what percentage of your contribution will fund the pertinent programs. For more tips on giving click here.

SEND A CHECK, NOT GOODS
Send cash, not goodsThe best way to help is by sending a check. Cash donations enable charities to buy the most needed types of food, medicine, clothing, shelter materials and other supplies. By buying relief products locally or regionally, charities can reduce shipping costs and more rapidly deliver assistance. Before sending any goods, first contact the charity to find out if they are appropriate and if it will be cost effective to distribute them. For example, after the tsunami in southeast Asia, boxes of donated winter coats, scarves and fuzzy hats, completely useless items in tsunami stricken nations with tropical climates, were sent to these nations.

 

 
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