As Hurricane Harvey continues to affect thousands in Louisiana and Texas, many New Yorkers hope to do their part and give back. But, how do you know what to give, and whether or not an organization is legitimate? NY1's Shannan Ferry breaks it down for us.
The devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey hits close to home for many New Yorkers.
Some of the destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy nearly five years ago is still visible.
"Hearing the stories — it just brings back all of those emotions from what we experienced not that long ago," said Kimberly George, executive director of Rebuilding Together NYC.
Guided by that experience, local leaders gathered at City Hall Thursday to appeal for help — urging New Yorkers to help storm victims in Texas and Louisiana. But they said giving back does not mean cleaning out closets and cupboards of clothes and food, and donating them. Goods require storage and transportation, and many times go to waste.
"Because it really is an enormous amount of work to manage those kinds of donations," said Peter Gudaitis, executive director and CEO of New York Disaster Interfaith Services. "And on average our federal government estimates it's 70 percent of all donated goods are thrown away."
Instead, money is seen as a much more effective contribution for New Yorkers to make. The donation is quick and easily transferrable. And it gives relief groups on the ground the flexibility to obtain the supplies that they determine are most needed.
And if you are planning to make a donation, it's important to send it to a legitimate organization to avoid getting scammed.
State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman released a set of tips for anyone wanting to donate.
He advises residents to research organizations using tools such as Charity Navigator or the Better Business Bureau. He also recommends being cautious with telephone solicitations, and campaigns set up by individuals on sites such as GoFundMe. Those are words of advice these officials emphasized Thursday.
"It is critical that we ensure that resources are reaching people on the ground," said Queens Councilman Donovan Richards.
And as thousands continue to suffer at the hands of Hurricane Harvey, these leaders want New Yorkers to reach into their hearts and pockets to help out.