Experts encourage 'safe' donations to Hurricane Harvey relief ef - KMOV.com

Experts encourage 'safe' donations to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts

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People in New Baden, Illinois are helping victims from Hurricane Harvey. Credit: KMOV People in New Baden, Illinois are helping victims from Hurricane Harvey. Credit: KMOV
ALTON, Ill. (KMOV.com) -

With story after story about the flooding, two 6-year-olds in Alton set up a cookie and juice stand to help an animal rescue group that's going to Texas. 

While they collected crates, collars and leashes, which are all needed, they collected something even more important. 

"We raised $350 in an hour," said Danielle Tilton, whose daughter raised money for animal rescues.

When it comes to relief efforts, cash is king. Well-meaning people hear that flood victims have lost everything, so they send old clothes and shoes. But shipping, sorting and distributing can be a huge task. 

In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, people wanted to comfort the survivors. Newtown, CT. received more than 65,000 teddy bears. 

Chris Thetford with the Better Business Bureau says think hard before giving any physical goods.

"It can overburden an overtaxed system right now," said Thetford. "If you think about the burden of giving physical items to a charity, it can be overwhelming."

Money donations allow relief agencies to buy what they need where they need it. It's an infusion cash into a devastated area. 

It's not hard to find hurricane relief sites online. For those wary about giving cash, Thetford says be sure to do your homework. 

"Part of our standards are making sure that the financing of the organization is spending an appropriate amount of the money on programs compared to fundraising costs," Thetford said.

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