2017-08-29 - Helping Our Texas Neighbors
Proverbs 14:21b Blessed is he who is kind to the needy. (NIV)
I know that most of you are probably like me, eager to do whatever you can to help victims of Hurricane Harvey. Of course, no matter our circumstance, each one of us can and should be praying for those affected - both the direct victims and those working tirelessly to assist them.
For those wishing to volunteer, it is IMPERATIVE that you work through an official agency, such as a church. I know from my own disaster assistance training that sometimes well-meaning volunteers show up and then the on-scene personnel have to deal with what to do with them. For safety reasons as well as need for coordination, please do NOT volunteer solo. Also if you want to give goods, please work through an affiliated agency such as a church denomination. Many times, well-meaning donaters take goods for which there is not enough space. So be sure to find out what they do or do not need, before taking goods and if you do take what they are asking for, God bless you!
For anyone able and desiring to give a monetary donation to help the storm victims, I know that like me, you want to be a good steward, as God's word teaches us to do.
If you want to check out what percentage of disaster donations actually helps victims so that the genuinely needy get your gift (as opposed to administrative costs), you can check at http://charitynavigator.org. For any not listed there, I recommend checking charities' own charts/statistics, though naturally they are not always as trustworthy.
I will share a little available info here, in hopes it will be helpful.
Generally, church denominations' agencies spend 100% of disaster donations on direct assistance to victims. I know this includes Lutheran World Relief, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance and Southern Baptist Disaster Assistance, all who have websites online.
The same goes for Salvation Army; during disasters, they have a different protocol. Even though they normally have 19% administrative costs, during the actual disaster, the Salvation Army gives 100% to victim assistance! As for the Red Cross: Charity Navigator gives the Red Cross 3 out of 4 stars, and per a CNN report (http://money.cnn.com/2013/05/24/pf/donations-charities/index.html), Red Cross uses 91% for direct assistance - not as good as church agencies, but certainly better than average for secular agencies.
Here are several related websites:
Lutheran (ELCA): http://lwr.org (I couldn't find a direct link to Harvey relief per se for this one.)
Southern Baptist: https://www.namb.net/send-relief/disaster-relief
Samaritans Purse (run by Billy Graham’s son Franklin) http://Samaritanspurse.org
Red Cross: https://www.redcross.org/donate/hurricane-harvey?scode=RSG00000E017&utm_campaign=Harvey&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIo5W-5-361QIVAo5pCh1MkQ4HEAAYASAAEgLx6PD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds&dclid=CIbniPLt-tUCFdBLAQodupcAew
Lastly but most importantly, please keep those prayers ongoing. This recovery process will probably take several years. Thank you for caring!
All verses are from the New American Standard Version (NASB) unless otherwise noted.