Giving wisely during a disaster

By Lauren Payne - bio | email feedback

Helping lead the way in rescue and recovery efforts in Haiti is the American Red Cross.  It's already released 9 million dollars to aid in relief.

"The American Red Cross has responded by providing first aid for those who were affected and also assisting with the search and rescue," said Pam Knapp-Carver.

At the local American Red Cross chapter in Blytheville, Pam Knapp-Carver says they've already had numerous people ask how they can help.

"People have called wanting to go to Haiti and help--wanting to send water, wanting to send truck loads of something down there.   Really those things are not practical at this point," said Carver.

Carver says monetary donations will help the most.

"For the American Red Cross' contribution to that effort, a lot of that money is going to come, all of it's going to come from communities," said Carver.

While people are opening their hearts and their pocketbooks to charities--the FBI is urging people to give wisely--ensuring that money gets to its intended recipient.

Here are some things to remember

Do not respond to an unsolicited (spam) incoming e-mails.

Be skeptical of individuals representing themselves as surviving victims or officials asking for donations via e-mail or social networking sites

Verify the legitimacy of nonprofit organizations

Make contributions directly to known organizations

Do not give your personal or financial information to anyone who solicits contribution

Pam Knapp-Carver at the American Red Cross says right now they are not calling people asking for money. She says if they do start asking for funds in a different way, she'll make sure the message gets out there.

"Anyone could walk in and say they're with so and so with any charitable organization and try to get something in that name.   We always try and let the businesses and community know when we're doing something," said Carver.

If you would like to donate to the American Red cross, you can visit their web site, or call 1-800-Red Cross.  You can also text Haiti to 90999 to make a ten dollar donation.

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