Experts: Cash Is Best Way To Give After A Disaster Like Hurricane Harvey

Thursday, August 31st 2017, 6:17 pm
By: News On 6

When tragedy strikes, Americans have no problem stepping up to help. Folks across the country are working to help Hurricane Harvey victims.

You can see it as case after case of water, clothing, cleaning items and so much more is loaded into trucks to be hauled away to the Gulf Coast. But disaster experts say the influx of donations is called the "disaster after the disaster."

"The thing is, you have to know the right way to do it," said Tim Lovell.

Tim Lovell works with the Disaster Resilience Network. He along with FEMA, the Red Cross and a long list of other groups say giving money is the best way to help.

"So often the things that are being given mainly after a disaster are things that actually end up having to go to other organizations and sometimes are never used."

It's a thoughtful gesture and is appreciated, but too much of a good thing often proves to be too much after a disaster.

National Voluntary Organizations Active In Disaster

The influx inundates cities and shelters, shifting concern from the people to the donations.

"In the emergency management field they call it the disaster after the disaster. Where it's all this stuff that shows up and has to be organized, categorized -finding places to put it. And in many cases the stuff is not needed," Lovell said.

"Whether you're an organization or an individual, cash first especially after a disaster and wait until later until a trusted organization makes a request for material support," he said.

If your group has started a donation collection, it's OK.  But before heading out, check with the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster to find specific locations that actually need what you have.

"You want what you give to be used," said Tim Lovell, Disaster Resilience Network.

Donations start to dwindle in the months following a disaster - so, it's important for people to remember - it's never too late to give.