I can’t even put into words what it’s like to live in the south. While, as a city, we are #HoustonStrong and Houston will rebuild, to see volunteer groups from the surrounding states band together and bring in so much help is truly an indescribable feeling.
The number of organizations that have risked their safety to help others who are in greater danger is truly astounding. I wish I could get out and help, but I’m surrounded by water. We have food and supplies and our water and electricity are still on, but all of the roads surrounding us are under water. There will be major efforts in the coming days to help all of those displaced by the floods. But please, before you donate cash or money, please do your research and make sure that you’re dealing with a reputable charity/non-profit. While it sickens me to say this, there will still be people who are looking to unethically and/or illegally profit from this great tragedy.
At Projects Helping Houston we make it a general practice to ask for donated supplies rather than money as a way to help put people at ease about giving. So many non-profits are able to use only a small portion of cash proceeds to their cause because administrative costs are so high. I like to know that 100% of the money that I’m giving will be used for my intended purpose. If I donate supplies rather than cash, there is a greater chance that what I’ve given will be used by somebody in need. Here are some things you check before you give that might help put your mind at ease:
- Do you or anybody you know have past experiences with this organization?
- What are they asking for? Are they only asking for monetary donations or are they also stating a need for necessities such as hygiene products, food, prepared meals, blankets, etc.
- Do they have a website and/or other social media presence?
- Do they have an EIN?
- Are they working with other non-profits?
- Do they have a mailing address and phone number?
Keep in mind, that just because you can’t find the name of the charity that you’re looking into registered with the IRS or the State Comptroller, there may be legitimate reasons. For example, Projects Helping Houston (PHH) is not registered with the Texas State Comptroller under Projects Helping Houston but as PHH Outreach Organization, Inc. and has a DBA in Galveston County as Projects Helping Houston. This is due to the strict naming requirements set forth by the state (the first two words cannot be the same as any other corporation registered).
Currently Projects Helping Houston is doing a campaign for travel supplies, mentioned here, which started as an end of summer donation drive. It appears that there an even greater need for it now. As soon as we can get to a donation spot that has access to showers for people, we will drop these supplies off and continue to collect anything we can.
Some major shout-outs to the following organizations who have gone above and beyond in this time of tragedy:
Continue to stay safe Houston. #PrayersforHouston