How to Help Victims of Irma Without Getting Scammed

Unfortunately, there are always going to be charlatans out there who look at a disaster as an opportunity to take advantage of people. Your willingness to give freely to those in need is one of your greatest attributes. Yet, to the tricksters and unprincipled people in the world, your generosity can also make you seem like a good target.

Sending money is your best guarantee

It takes work to get anything delivered into a hard-hit area. Your best odds for actually making a difference come from donating money, which can make an instant difference in an impacted community. And fortunately, there are a few really reputable sources with boots on the ground that you can donate to free of worry. We particularly recommend the Red Cross. They are dedicated, experienced and volunteer-run, so more of your money goes to helping victims directly and not to internal organizational costs, and they have a long history of making a difference in the lives of those affected by disasters.

If you can find it in your heart, we also suggest donating to the Humane Society. Our animals are often among the hardest hit silent victims in a disaster like this. The Humane Society helps find, save and rehabilitate animals, as well as return them to their homes, or find them new homes. This is important, underappreciated work.

Food drives are good, but their impact takes more time

Donating food can also help, though, again, it is often not as helpful as donating money. Remember that in disasters, young children and parents are often the most affected, so baby formula and diapers are especially needed. Remember, though, all this food has to be shipped by ground to the impacted area, so it’ll take some time to be of use.

When in doubt, check the watchdogs

If you’re still not sure who will make the best use of your donation, check the watchdog groups that are dedicated to rating and accrediting charity organizations. Charity Watch, Charity Navigator and the Better Business Bureau are the three most important rating organizations for charities. They generally only rate bigger charities, however, so if you don’t see the organization you’re checking on listed there, have a conversation with the charity of your choice and really feel them out. If it comes down to it, trust your gut. If you get a good feeling from them, donate, and if not, go elsewhere. When it’s all said and done, the most important thing is just to give.

The chance to help

In our more than 30 years of providing roofing services in Central Florida, we’ve seen our fair share of hurricane damage—it just comes with the territory. But it’s rare to see the type of flooding and damage we’ve seen this year with not just Irma here in Florida, but Harvey in Houston. Without the generous help of people like you, our respective communities would have so much more work to do to get back on our feet. We’re so proud to serve our community. There’s no one else we’d rather face a storm with. This work has been so much more important than our everyday duties. We know that eventually we’ll get back to normal, and we’ll shift all of our focus, once again, to offering roofing services in Central Florida. Until then, we’re thankful for the chance to help.

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