Cash is best donation for hurricane relief

September 01, 2005|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

For those who want to donate to the Hurricane Katrina relief effort, the Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends cash.

"Cash donations are especially helpful to victims," Michael D. Brown, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's under secretary for emergency preparedness & response, said in a statement posted at the FEMA Web site. "They allow volunteer agencies to issue cash vouchers to victims so they can meet their needs.

"Cash donations also allow agencies to avoid the labor-intensive need to store, sort, pack and distribute donated goods. Donated money prevents, too, the prohibitive cost of air or sea transportation that donated goods require."

FEMA urges people who want to do something besides give money to contact volunteer agencies rather than just show up in disaster-struck areas.


Cindy Blackstock Kline, the director of emergency services for the Washington County chapter of the American Red Cross, said people donating money should send checks directly to the national office, which tracks where it came from and credits local chapters.

Checks should be made out to American Red Cross. Contributors may note on the check's memo line that it's for the national disaster relief fund.

The address is: American Red Cross, Disaster Relief Fund, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.

The organization's Web site is and the phone number is 800-435-7669 (800-HELP-NOW). For those who speak Spanish, the number is 800-257-7575.

Other organizations on FEMA's list of those accepting cash donations are:

  • Operation Blessing, 800-436-6348

  • America's Second Harvest, 800-344-8070

Organizations that are soliciting both cash and volunteers include:

  • Adventist Community Services, 800-381-7171

  • Catholic Charities USA, 703-549-1390

  • Christian Disaster Response, 941-956-5183 or 941-551-9554

  • Christian Reformed World Relief Committee, 800-848-5818

  • Church World Service, 800-297-1516

  • Convoy of Hope, 417-823-8998

  • Lutheran Disaster Response, 800-638-3522

  • Mennonite Disaster Service, 717-859-2210

  • Nazarene Disaster Response, 888-256-5886

  • Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, 800-872-3283

  • The Salvation Army, 800-725-2769 (800-SAL-ARMY)

  • Southern Baptist Convention disaster relief, 800-462-8657, ext. 6440

  • United Methodist Committee on Relief, 800-554-8583

The state of Maryland also has a Web site where people can help Hurricane Katrina victims. The address is It links to the FEMA Web site and to the USA Freedom Corps Volunteer Network.

The Guidestar Web site - hurricane_relief.jsp - lists organizations that are helping, plus tips for choosing which charity to support.

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