How to make the most of your donation to Hurricane Harvey victims

How to make the most of your donation to Hurricane Harvey victims
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Market Street United has been packed all day for the "Texans helping Texans" food drive, where residents gave an overwhelming number of donations to those affected by Hurricane Harvey.

So many donations, that they had to bring in a second semi truck to help bring additional supplies down to southeast Texas.

While many people in the Panhandle are eager to help, it's also important they go through the right organizations in order to effectively do their part.

Many residents have packed their bags and headed down to the Texas coast to assist with storm recovery efforts, but some are concerned they may be doing more harm than good.

Director of Social Services at The Salvation Army, Dr. Jennifer Santer, said sometimes when you take donations down, you're bringing supplies people may not need.

"You're guessing what people need," said Santer. "Sometimes we're getting so much, you know, it's been referred to almost as a second disaster."

Local organizations want to encourage residents to donate through a reputable organization rather than make the drive.

Executive Director for the American Red Cross, Kiley Murray, said it's almost too early in the disaster to determine what to bring.

"One of the dangers of just heading down, or shipping down or throwing them into a truck is you have to make sure whoever is taking those items, they have a destination that they're going to actually, another receiving location," said Murray. "Because, for instance, you could just show up on a door step and drop a whole bunch of stuff off and then it's somebody else's problem to handle."

One of the benefits of giving through organizations like The Salvation Army, American Red Cross or High Plains Food Bank is you know exactly where your donation is going.

Communications and Marketing Director at the High Plains Food Bank, Emily Bell, said they are taking a lead from their statewide network, Feeding Texas.

"Feeding Texas is mobilizing all the Texas food banks and giving us daily, weekly updates so we know exactly who has been impacted the most, the hardest, who is serving the most," said Bell. "And we know as we collect these donations, every penny will go to and every product donated will go to Houston Food Bank."

Santer also said you can feel confident while donating to The Salvation Army.

"When you donate to The Salvation Army, it says 'for the Hurricane Harvey,' 100 percent of those dollars will go to hurricane survivors," said Santer.

Traveling with supplies can also create problems if you're not properly trained.

"We train from every specific job for what volunteers would be doing," said Murray. "So if they're drivers, they had special driver training. If they're feeding, they have feeding training. If they're taking in clients, they have special training for that, so it's not just a general training. It's very specific to what the job the volunteer is doing."

As the organizations continue to collect donations for storm victims, they know there's a long road ahead of them.

"This isn't the end of it," said Bell. "We'll need to be Texans helping Texans for a long time."

If you would like to donate supplies to hurricane victims through the High Plains food bank, click here.

If you would like to make a monetary donation through The Salvation Army, click here.

If you would like to make a monetary donation through the American Red Cross, click here.

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