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Hurricane Sandy –…

Hurricane Sandy – Giving Wisely

In the aftermath of the recent hurricane, reportedly one of the largest storms to ever hit the East Coast, many are asking how they can help. Here are just a few suggestions to get you started. If you have power, reach out to those in your area who do not and see what they need. Also consider visiting local shelters who are in need of supplies for the victims currently housed in those facilities.

In New Jersey, the Christie Administration has activated an Emergency Volunteer Response Hotline. If you are interested in volunteering with a variety of Hurricane Sandy clean-up activities in New Jersey, call the state’s volunteer emergency response hotline at 1-800-JERSEY-7 (1-800-537-7397). If storm conditions preclude the hotline from being answered by live operators, volunteers may call one of two backup hotline numbers: 609-775-5236 or 908-303-0471. Volunteers may also send an email to

Others may wish to make financial donations. According to Charity Navigator, it takes time for charities to mobilize, to assess the problems that need to be addressed and to develop effective solutions. Donors need to be patient so charities will not feel pressured to plunge in and offer ineffective aid, simply to placate impatient donors. That doesn't mean donors shouldn't hold the charities accountable for delivering on their promises! Be sure to follow up with the charity in a few months to find out (a) how your donation was put to use and (b) if the organization needs additional support to complete the recovery effort.

Before you contribute to Hurricane Relief and Recovery efforts, read Charity Navigator’s Tips For Giving In Times of Crisis. Then, you may want to consider a donation to any one of the highly-rated charities that are responding. But as this list grows, be sure to first consider the nature of the charity's work. That is to say, not every charity is responding in the same way to Hurricane Sandy. Some are providing temporary shelter while others are providing food, water and medical assistance. Other charities are focused on long term rebuilding efforts. And some are simply fundraising on behalf of other charities. Think about what it is you want your donation to accomplish and then make sure you select the charity that is doing that type of work.

Charity Navigator’s web site lists highly-rated charities with links that take you to each charity's ratings page where you can see how Charity Navigator has evaluated their Financial Health and Accountability & Transparency. Also on that page, you can link to the charity's website where you can learn more specifically about the type of assistance the charity is providing in relation to Hurricane Sandy. Visit Charity Navigator today.