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McPhersonSentinel - McPherson, KS
  • Put thought into disaster donations

  • The recent news has been filled with natural disasters.
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  • The recent news has been filled with natural disasters.
    The typhoon that hit the Philipines Nov. 4 left 4,000 dead and thousands more without food and water. Storms Sunday in the Midwest spawned tornadoes and flattened neighborhoods.
    Images of rubble and struggling survivors have tugged at Americans’ heart strings and their purse strings.
    While all donations are appreciated, local charity officials said some donations are more helpful than others.
    “We always suggest making a monetary donation,” said Marena Assarsson, communication officer for the Red Cross’ Kansas region. “It’s easier for people to buy what they need locally, and it’s hard for us to ship stuff.”
    According to the Associated Press, money is the most helpful to disaster relief organizations because it can be used to meet specific local needs. Items such as clothing, food and toys can be expensive to ship and may not be very helpful to those who need relief.
    Supplies also may undermine the local economy. People in these areas may make their living selling construction supplies, food, clothing and other essential items.
    When the area is flooded with donated items, these people find it impossible to make a living.
    Those who do want to donate items should do research to find out which items will be helpful in that area. Connie Blake, manager of Churches United in Ministry, said people should donate clothing in good condition and not use donation as a way to get rid of unwanted items.
    “Sometimes people say, ‘Well, it’s not a nice shirt, but it’s something,’” Blake said. “If you wouldn’t wear it, other people won’t want to either.”
    Blake said people should also make sure their donations will be used effectively for disaster relief. She said sometimes people will set up fake or inefficient charities that spend more resources paying employees than helping those in need.
    Blake suggested donating to established organizations, such as the Salvation Army, Mennonite Disaster Relief and Red Cross. Charity Navigator, a website that evaluates charities and nonprofit organizations, can help people find good organizations and weed out the potentially shady ones. It can be found at www.charitynavigator.org.
    Blake also suggested donating to local groups, such as Outreach McPherson, the ReUse It Center and Guardians of the Plains. These organizations help local people in need.
    Those interested in sending aid to the Philipines or Midwest can do so through Red Cross online at redcross.org or by sending donations to 111 N. Walnut St., Suite B, Hutchinson, KS 67501. Donations of $10 also are accepted by texting 90999. For more information, call 620-662-3336.
    Aid to the Midwest also can be sent through Mennonite Disaster Service online at mds.mennonite.net or to 583 Airport Road, Lititz, PA 17543.
    Page 2 of 2 - Aid to the Philipines can be sent through Mennonite Central Committee online at www.mcc.org, to 21 S. 12th St. PO Box 500 Akron, PA 17501 or by calling 1-888-563-4676.

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