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This past weekend, Hurricane Florence made landfall on the North Carolina coast, causing heavy flooding and damage. As of Monday morning, over half a million people throughout North and South Carolina are without power. As the storm continues to make its way inland, torrential rainfall is expected to cause further flooding to inland areas of the East Coast.
First responders, disaster relief organizations and even local breweries and businesses have all rallied to provide immediate aid to communities hit hardest by Hurricane Florence, but large-scale recovery efforts will have to wait until the storm is gone and the damage is assessed.
The full extent of the damage from Hurricane Florence is yet to be determined, but the one thing we do know is that the East Coast will need help rebuilding once the storm has fully passed.
How you can help hurricane victims
If you are looking for a way you can help victims in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, one of the best things you can do is consider donating to one of the many disaster relief funds that will help in the rebuilding process.
Carolina-based relief efforts
Many local organizations are already on the ground assessing damages and helping victims in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Florence.
Based in Durham, NC, the Diaper Bank is collecting donations for diapers and feminine hygiene products to help women and children who were displaced by the storm. You can also help by buying items from their Amazon Wish Lists.
The NCCF activated the NCCF Disaster Relief Fund last week to help communities in North Carolina affected by Hurricane Florence. Those wishing to donate to the fund should designate their donation as “disaster relief.”
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper announced that the state is accepting donations to help with the damage caused by Hurricane Florence. You can donate online or by texting Florence to 20222.
The One SC Fund provides grants to nonprofits that help fund relief, recovery and/or rebuilding efforts from state-declared emergencies. You can make a donation online or through the mail.
You don’t have to donate food or supplies to help Feeding the Carolinas network of Food Banks. According to the Feeding the Carolinas website, monetary donations are the most helpful. They use these donations to distribute funds to food banks throughout North and South Carolina as needed.
Michael Jordan, owner of the Charlotte Hornets, is working with the NBA to connect donors with community organizations providing immediate relief and support to those affected by Hurricane Florence. You can check out the Hurricane Relief landing page to learn more about how you can support organizations, such as Direct Relief, Foundation for the Carolinas, Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina and the United Way of Central Carolinas.
This Charlotte, North Carolina-based group runs more than 30 emergency food pantries across the state. They are currently accepting monetary donations online.
The Brother Wolf Animal Rescue has activated a Rapid Response Fund to help save animals and assist shelters in the aftermath of the hurricane.
You can donate online to the Charleston Animal Society to help with animal rescue efforts. The organization also provides food and supplies for cats, dogs and other animals affected by Hurricane Florence.
National relief organizations
There are also many national organizations dedicated to helping victims of Hurricane Florence. Many have funds set up specifically for Hurricane Florence, or you can donate to these organizations as a whole as they continue to support relief efforts for natural disasters and other crises across the country.
The American Red Cross is accepting donations specifically for Hurricane Florence relief online and by telephone. You can donate via its website or by calling 1-800-HELP-NOW. Google has pledged to match up to $1 million in donations made through the site to help support Hurricane Florence relief.
Americares provides humanitarian aid to those in crisis, including emergency medicine and supplies. You can donate online to its Hurricane Disaster Relief Fund to directly support efforts in the Carolinas.
The nationwide organization is asking for donations to its Hurricane Florence Recovery Fund, where 100 percent of all donations will be distributed to local United Way groups to focus on mid- and long-term recovery efforts in affected areas.
The Cajun Navy is a volunteer group that assists local responders in search and rescue operations. Its volunteers have a wide range of extensive training in rescue situations and have experience from previous storms such as Hurricane Harvey last year. You can donate through their PayPal account.
This organization focuses on helping children and has delivered an array of supplies such as portable cribs, baby wipes, toys and more to evacuation shelters in North Carolina. Its emergency response team also set up play areas for children at many of these shelters.
This group has activated mobile feeding units deployed across both North and South Carolina. It is also providing emergency assistance to those in need.
Habitat for Humanity is collecting donations to help provide shelter and housing needs in the aftermath of the hurricane.
Samaritan’s Purse has established a relief base is New Bern, North Carolina, and volunteers are helping homeowners with the recovery process after the storm. There will also be bases set up in Jacksonville and Wilmington as soon as they can.
Donate your miles or credit card rewards
Many credit card rewards and loyalty programs have portals for members to donate rewards points or miles to charities. Check with your card issuer to see how you can use your rewards to donate to charities such as the American Red Cross or other disaster relief organizations.
See related:How to donate unused rewards miles, points
You may also be able to take advantage of donation partnerships to earn more rewards by donating. For example, American Airlines is offering a 10x AAdvantage miles bonus for disaster relief donations made to the American Red Cross through this link through Sept. 21.
See related:Airline and hotel rewards donation chart
Safety tips for online donations
Unfortunately, many scammers take advantage of crisis situations by posing as relief organizations. Here are a few tips to help you make sure you’re donating to a reputable relief group.
Check out monitoring agencies
If you aren’t sure about a certain charity asking for donations, you can check their credentials on websites like Give.org, Charity Navigator or the National Association of State Charity Officials. In the event you run across a suspicious charity, you can file a complaint online with the Federal Trade Commission.
Use your credit card
It’s smart to use a credit card for online transactions because you can request a chargeback if necessary. Many credit card issuers also offer an added layer of protection to cardholders that can help you identify suspicious account activity and put a stop to it.
Be wary of email solicitations
If you get an unsolicited email asking for donations, you may want to think twice before donating.
Donate to well-known organizations
Many national organizations have specialty funds set up so you can donate to specific causes, such as hurricane relief. If you are worried about scammers, donating to trusted organizations like United Way or the American Red Cross can help eliminate any worries you have.
Look for secure websites
One of the easiest ways to double check the security of a site you are considering making a donation through is looking for https:// and the padlock in the address box at the top of the screen.