Friday, September 20

As Dorian Roars, Charities Mobilize, Seek Donations

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Catherine Burns watched from a distance as Hurricane Dorian did its damage in the Bahamas and headed for the United States, but she remembers what it was like when Sandy hit close to home.

So Burns took action: She donated to a charity fundraising in the wake of Dorian. “I donated because my home was affected by Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and I know the devastating feeling of losing a home,” she said on a fundraising page for Dorian.

As Hurricane Dorian continues along its path, charities have been providing disaster relief and launching fundraising campaigns, targeting everything from people to pets stretching from the Bahamas to the United States.

National, international and even local groups are preparing or offering relief, putting out the word and seeking funds even as organizations such as the U.S. Coast Guard also deploy people and resources to help.

The American Red Cross, for instance, set up dozens of shelters in the United States and launched a separate fund around Hurricane Dorian, while Charity Navigator provided a list of charities that it said were positioned to help.

In the Bahamas, the Atlantis Paradise Island launched its own effort, raising  about $39,500 from nearly 300 donors through a fundraising site it set up to raise money for the Bahamas Red Cross to help parts of the Bahamas hit hard.

The city of Miami collected supplies at fire stations designed to help those impacted by the hurricane.

Meanwhile, charities outlined their policies regarding money earmarked for a particular cause as specific campaigns around Dorian formed.

“If it’s marked for Dorian as a destination, that money will go to help the Dorian fund,” a woman said as she answered donation calls for the American Red Cross.

The Bahamas Red Cross said it partners with the American Red Cross and some others.

Non-profits also outlined their efforts to help in the face of the first major hurricane of the hurricane season. The American Red Cross said on Sunday night 2,600 people sought refuge in 60 Red Cross and community evacuation shelters in Florida.

“We are mobilizing over 1,600 trained volunteers from all over the country, 110 emergency response vehicles and 99 tractor-trailer loads full of relief supplies, including cots, blankets and 63,000 ready-to-eat meals,” according to the group.

The Atlantis Paradise Island by Tuesday morning had raised about $18,000 to be donated to the Bahamas Red Cross.

“My heart goes out to those affected by Dorian,” Doris Clark, a former resort employee who donated, said in a note along with her online donation.

Team Rubicon, which organizes and deploys military veterans to help in cases of disaster, outlined its policy to designate dollars based on intended destinations after launching a Dorian effort.

“A hundred percent of your donation will be used for this response until the cost of our operation has been met, at which time your investment will be applied where it’s needed most at Team Rubicon,” according to Team Rubicon.

The Salvation Army launched a campaign to raise donations for Dorian, helping with emergency assistance to first responders and people affected by Dorian.

“The Salvation Army uses 100 percent of all disaster donations in support of disaster relief,” the group’s site indicated, noting funds could go to food, drinks, cleaning supplies and “other essential commodities,” as well as financial assistance to disaster survivors and “long-term recovery assistance programs including repair and reconstruction projects, or to support disaster relief workers serving in impacted communities.”

The Salvation Army indicates it “never places an administrative fee on disaster donations.”

Groups outlined actions they had already taken around Dorian from the Bahamas to the United States.

Team Rubicon, for instance, said it had mobilized a team in Seminole County, Florida, to fill and place sandbags and board windows for elderly residents ahead of the storm.

It added that it’s also deploying personnel to the Bahamas to identify “unmet needs in the wake of Hurricane Dorian.”

Team Rubicon also said it’s “strategically staging route clearance resources including heavy equipment and chainsaw operators capable of covering an affected area from North Carolina to southern Florida.”

GreaterGood.org raised money to help people and provide pet food, crates, and veterinary pharmaceuticals to help keep pets safe and cared for during Dorian.

“GreaterGood.org has started working with our partners on the ground to deliver life-saving supplies for humans and pets,” the group said regarding the Bahamas and the United States.

The group said its disaster response team is shipping “veterinary pharmaceuticals to agencies in the path of the storm” and helping provide shelter for pets.

“GreaterGood.org is also working to bring in animal food and other animal care supplies for evacuees, shelter animals, and rescues in the United States,” according to GreaterGood.com.

Meanwhile, the City of Miami launched Bahamastrong, its own effort to collect supplies that could help hurricane victims, as the city is expected to avoid a direct hit.

“If Miami is spared the worst of Hurricane Dorian, we’ll have plenty of newly purchased emergency supplies that we can offer to those who need it the most,” according to the site.

The site encouraged people to drop off various items at numerous City of Miami Fire Stations, as well as Greater St. Paul AME Church and Christ Episcopal Church, both in what the site referred to as “historically Bahamian Coconut Grove.”

Charity Navigator posted a list of more than a dozen charities that it said are highly rated and have resources ready to help those impacted by the storm.

“Charity Navigator has confirmed these charities’ efforts on the ground and encourages donors to support,” the charity watchdog said of its list. “Designated donations made from this page will be applied to charity programs per each charity’s designation policies.”

Charity Navigator recommended Heart to Heart International, Project HOPE, American Kidney Fund, Good360, GlobalGiving, Mercy Corps, Americares, Direct Relief, All Hands and Hearts Smart Response, International Relief Teams, World Vision and Matthew 25: Ministries.

Groups also organized fundraising events on websites such as Eventbrite. Third Wave Volunteers, for instance, organized an event in Miami.

And Denison Yacht Sales, also in Miami, began fundraising “In light of the destruction caused to the people and property of the Bahamas.”

The company said it is organizing a fundraiser to raise money to buy medical supplies, toiletries and building equipment” to be delivered to Grand Bahamas Island with the help of Hope For Hope Town.


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