Hurricane Dorian relief: Where is your money going?

With pictures and video of devastation and despair usually comes an empathetic heart. It's nearly a tenet of the American fabric -- helping out when others are in need.

Between August 31 and Sept. 8, the American Red Cross Eastern North Carolina Region provided:

  • More than 4,800 overnight stays in 79 Red Cross and community shelters
  • Served more than 12,700 meals and snacks
  • Distributed more than 4,100 comfort kits
  • Utilized more than 225 vehicles to deliver disaster workers and relief supplies
  • Responded with more 670 trained disaster workers to serve the community
  • Made more than 350 health and emotional support contacts

Executive director Vicki LaBelle with the American Red Cross of Central North Carolina said she appreciates all of the support and relief Americans have been giving. In addition, LaBelle told ABC11 that often times people will want to donate tangible, in-kind donations. However, the Red Cross, other charitable organizations, and beneficiaries often lack the infrastructure and logistical support to handle an influx of donations.

LaBelle suggested donating time, money, and blood. Dorian's wrath forced the cancellation of nearly 100 Red Cross blood drives in the southeastern parts of the US. Those cancellations netted the loss of more than 2,300 blood and platelet donations.

Should people decide on an organization other than the Red Cross, LaBelle suggested using Charity Navigator to research its rating and credibility. The website has been active for 17 years and keeps records of nearly 4,200 charities. Users have donated more than $65 million dollars through it's 'giving basket'.

Also, LaBelle warns people to look for a board of directors and a 501(c)(3) status to determine if the organization's profitability.

To find out if you are eligible to give blood through the Red Cross, click here.

To review a charity's rating, visit Charity Navigator's website.
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