How to help after Hurricane Sandy - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

How to help after Hurricane Sandy

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The way Panhandle residents can help out those affected by disasters such as Hurricane Sandy is changing.

One of the easiest ways to help those on the East Coast affected by Sandy is to run to your closet and pantry to grab something to donate, but many organizations are saying that may no longer be the best way.

Hurricane Sandy has left a mess on the East Coast, causing a need for help from others. But, the way we have to help those in need is changing.

"One of the things I don't really think people understand is that having some sort of clothing drive or a food drive is actually a burden on the agencies that are on the ground trying to help," Melissa Benson, Major Gifts Officer for The Panhandle Chapter of The American Red Cross says.

Transporting donated goods to disaster areas is an added cost to agencies.

"If we are able to receive monetary donations, we are then able to asses what people need after the disaster, we are able to purchase what the clients need at the time of the disaster, and then there are no transportation costs because we can purchase them closer to the disaster," Benson says.

Donating can be just as easy as picking up your cell phone. Text messages can be sent to The Red Cross as well as other agencies for donations. Local church organizations are also taking part.

"Folks at Polk Street know that the United Methodist Committee on Relief is ready to respond. And so, we've already had contributions come in. Another avenue that happen later on is that Methodist churches will organize in work groups and will travel to the areas affect by disaster," Dixie Robertson, associate pastor at Polk Street United Methodist Church says.

Other local church groups such as Paramount Baptist's disaster relief team have also been talking about traveling to assist in clean up.

There have been more than 100 blood drives in the northeast canceled because of the storm. The Red Cross says blood donations are another important way to help those in need.