Looking for a way to help those in Texas who are reeling from the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey?
The best way, various officials say, is to write a check.
FEMA officials and the Kansas Division of Emergency Management are urging Kansans who wish to help victims of Harvey to donate money to a reputable volunteer, charitable or faith-based organization.
“Too often, well-meaning people send clothing, diapers and other items to disaster stricken areas, but their donations end up unused or even discarded,” said Angee Morgan, deputy director of the Kansas Division of Emergency Management. “The reason is that these goods must be sorted, packaged and stored until they can be distributed, which diverts manpower from other tasks and requires a place to warehouse the items.
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“In some areas, there may not be any place available to do this,” she said. “Also, there is often a surplus of one thing and not enough of another.”
Donating money allows agencies to purchase exactly what is needed when it is needed and does not waste resources, she said. It also puts money back into the local economy, helping local businesses recover faster.
In addition to the national members, the Texas branch of that organization has a list of vetted disaster relief organizations providing services to survivors.
The United Way of the Plains is accepting donations and is working with United Ways in the areas affected by Hurricane Harvey, spokesman Delane Butler said in an e-mail response to questions. The United Way is providing short and long-term recovery programs to communities hit hard, he said.
Those wishing to specify particular areas for their donations can denote the city or county on their check. The United Way of the Plains will then make “every effort to get the funds to the closest United Way,” Butler said.
Checks should be made payable to United Way of the Plains, with Hurricane Harvey in memo line, he said. Send them to United Way of the Plains, 245 N. Water, Wichita, KS 67202.
Catholic Charities also is accepting checks for people wanting to help, local officials said. Put “Hurricane Harvey” in the memo line and send them to Catholic Charities Inc. – Diocese of Wichita; St. Joseph Pastoral Center, 437 N. Topeka, Wichita, KS 67202-2413.
The money will then be routed to Catholic Charities in the Galveston-Houston area, said Heather Welch, director of communications for Catholic Charities.
Donations can also be sent by texting CCUSADISASTER to 71777, or calling 1-800-919-9338.