DeKalb Emergency Management Agency (DEMA) is offering tips to local residents who would like to help victims of Hurricane Harvey, which unleashed catastrophic flooding in Houston over the weekend. At the request of DEMA’s emergency management counterparts in Texas, DeKalb offers the following tips:
- Do not send or transport unsolicited donations. Pay attention to agencies and volunteer organizations in the affected areas, which will list their specific needs. Only donate the items requested.
- Do not deploy to assist with cleanup until agencies have requested help. There are still damage assessments and basic repairs to infrastructure taking place. Due to the unsafe conditions that still remain, wait for an invitation to volunteer.
- Financial contributions are the best way to help. Some organizations taking donations for Harvey recovery are American Red Cross, Coastal Bend Disaster Recovery Group, Food Bank of the Golden Crescent, Food Bank of Houston, Salvation Army, SPCA of Texas, Team Rubicon, United Way of Texas and many others. Local churches and organizations may also accept donations. The National Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters has more information on its website at www.nvoad.org.
- Be wary of disaster relief and donation scams. Unfortunately, some take advantage of disaster situations and goodwill. Look for signs of donation scams, such as refusing to provide detailed identity information, lacking status for tax-deductible contributions, or asking that money be sent by mail or wire services.