It is one of the worst disasters in American history. The images from Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath are unbelievable! More than 30 people have died and more than 100,000 homes are underwater across the greater Houston area and throughout Texas. The rain may have stopped, but the water rescues are still continuing and it’s going to be a long time until those forced to flee their homes, return there.
In the meantime, I keep thinking how can I help? I’ve also had a number of clients ask the same thing. Many of us feel helpless as we watch the images of devastation on the news. But there are ways you can participate and help the victims of Hurricane Harvey.
- DONATE TO A REPUTABLE CHARITY – The need in Texas is great. The best way to help Hurricane Harvey victims is to donate money to a reputable charity. The American Red Cross and The Salvation Army are collecting monetary donations. The American Red Cross is directly assisting victims by helping them find housing and coordinating meal deliveries to all of the affected areas. You can find more info on where to donate at americanredcross.org or salvationarmyusa.org.
If you choose another charity and give online, watch out for sites with names that sound like legitimate charities, but aren’t. Crooks are creating phony charities to scam people. If you’re giving online, make sure the website is secure and starts with “https”, then pay with a credit card, not with cash or a check. Do your research to make sure the organization you’re donating to is a real, tax-deductible 501c3.
- COLLECT DONATIONS – It has only been a week since the storm hit and already we’re hearing that shelters need food, water, diapers, canned food and clothing. Many local churches and schools are collecting these items. Call your local church and ask if they’re collecting and where you can drop off these items. Many restaurants and schools are also accepting charity donations.
- SAVE YOUR RECEIPTS – Did you know that your generosity will be rewarded if you donate to a 501c3? You just need to save your receipts. Make sure you turn them in with the rest of your charitable donations.
I have been through a number of natural disasters, but I don’t know what I would do if my home was flooded and I had nowhere to go. If you have the means to share your treasure with those who need it, do it, then make sure to send me (or your bookkeeper) the receipts, so we can keep track of your good deeds and deduct your charitable giving from your next tax return.