Editorial: Help, but do it wisely

Published 9:31 pm Monday, September 17, 2018

Even before Florence’s floodwaters crested, folks beyond the hurricane’s reach started wondering how to help people whose lives were turned upside-down. You can start by making a donation, if you’re able, to an organization you can count on to use it wisely.

As Art Taylor of the Better Business Bureau says, “This is not amateur hour.”

Taylor, president and CEO of the bureau, advises donors to watch out for newly created organizations that are either inexperienced or who might be planning to exploit your compassion for their personal gain.

There’s no question communities that got the full brunt of the storm need help. Wilmington has been virtually cut off from the rest of the world; just getting food to residents there is a challenge. Meanwhile, less well known coastal communities are struggling with problems that are just as serious and severe. As of this writing, the death toll is up to 30, more than a quarter-million Duke Energy customers are without power and 1,200 roads are blocked by flooding.

By comparison, Rowan County was barely touched. We had damage and flooding, but life will be back to normal here in a day or two. People on the coast are looking at weeks or months of rebuilding. For some hit by Hurricane Florence, life will never be the same.

Cash is king when it comes to flood relief at this stage, Kelly Erb writes on Forbes.com. “While you may want to send food and other items, the infrastructure may not support those donations.”

Erb recommends that donors stick with “oldies but goodies” like as the Red Cross, which has a Florence-specific page on its website. Gov. Roy Cooper has recommended the North Carolina Disaster Relief Fund. Or you can check out other organizations at the BBB’s Give.org or CharityNavigator.org, which has posted a list of highly rated charities providing aid and support.

People down east need our help, clearly. Do what you can to chip in, financially, and do it wisely.