Harvey Telethon to Include Irma Victims; List of Places Acceptin - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Harvey Telethon to Include Irma Victims; List of Places Accepting Donations

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The star-studded Sept. 12 telethon scheduled to help victims of Hurricane Harvey is expanding its reach to include those affected by Hurricane Irma as well.

Event organizers say that they are prepared to help in any way they can.

Beyoncé, Blake Shelton, Barbra Streisand and Oprah Winfrey will headline the one-hour telethon that will be simulcast next week on ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and CMT.

The event will air at 8 p.m. on the West Coast, and streamed on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

George Clooney, Jamie Foxx, Matthew McConaughey, Dennis Quaid, Julia Roberts, Kelly Rowland, George Strait, Reese Witherspoon and others will also participate with taped or live messages.
            
It will benefit several organizations, including United Way of Greater Houston, Habitat for Humanity and Save the Children.

Recently Channel 2 teamed up with the Red Cross, the Reno Media Group and the Atlantis Casino for a fundraiser to help victims affected by Hurricane Harvey. Thanks to you we raised $37,804.40 that day.  

The Sarkes and Mary Tarzian Foundation also donated $25,000 to our drive, bringing to the total amount to $62,804.40! 

Here are some other ways you can help:

FEMA Administrator Brock Long encouraged Americans who want to help storm victims to connect with the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD) online, which is coordinating donations and volunteers.

City of Houston Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner established the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, which accepts tax deductible donations for flood relief victims. The organization will accept checks, money orders, bank wire transfers, stock, corporate bonds and other marketable securities. For donation instructions, click here.   

JJ Watt Foundation
Houston Texans star JJ Watt set up an online fundraiser called the Houston Flood Relief Fund on the YouCaring crowdfunding site. Watt has personally donated $100,000 to those who've been affected by the storm, and more than $10 million has already been pledged.
GoFundMe has also set up a web page for Hurricane Harvey relief efforts.

American Red Cross
The American Red Cross is accepting donations by phone and online. Donors may text HARVEY to 90999 to make a $10 donation, or call 1-800-RED-CROSS.

Catholic Charities USA
Catholic Charities USA, the domestic relief agency of the U.S. Catholic Church, is accepting donations online and by phone. Text CCUSADISASTER to 71777 to make a donation.

Feeding Texas
The organization Feeding Texas has mobilized to assist families affected by flooding. Coastal food banks are currently distributing food to the public while inland food banks are assisting Red Cross shelters with items needed by refugees. Those who are in need of assistance can call 2-1-1 to learn where distribution centers are located. Local food banks are in need of staple foods such as powdered milk, cereal, pop-top meat, canned fruit, peanut butter, jelly and fruit cups. Cleaning supplies will also be accepted.

Texas Diaper Bank
The Texas Diaper bank is accepting diapers for Harvey victims (they need large sizes most of all) and donations. Their Facebook page is listing ways to donate, and they are suffering from more donations than their volunteers can sort, so they're looking for additional volunteers.

Blood donations
According to the South Texas Blood and Tissue Center, hospitals in Texas are facing blood shortages. The organization is seeking blood donations in order to stock up trauma centers that are seeing an influx of patients in the aftermath of the storm.

Help animals rescued in Texas floods
Several organizations are helping pets displaced by the disaster.

Donations to The Humane Society of the United States help the group work with local officials to transport, rescue and care for animals.

The City of San Antonio Animal Care Services accepts donations online or by mail, and nearby residents can also drop off donations of items like pet food and cat litter.

Apps for Hurricane Harvey and other disasters
There are dozens of apps available to help you in the event of an emergency, including those that offer alerts for disasters and weather and apps for keeping emergency contacts or pertinent medical information easily available for first responders. Download.com has compiled a list of iOS and Android apps for emergencies.

Meanwhile, the Better Business Bureau and BBB Wise Giving Alliance are advising people to help as much as they can in the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts, but to do so with caution and make sure their donations get to the people who need it most.

“The devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey prompts us to do what we can to help as soon as possible,” said H. Art Taylor, president and CEO of BBB Wise Giving Alliance (BBB’s Give.org,) “but donors need to be aware of some key cautions so that their generosity will get to those in need quickly.”

The National Weather Service reports that Hurricane Harvey has brought over 20 inches of rain to portions of southeast Texas and the volume of flooding is unprecedented for this area. And, another 15-25 inches of rain is anticipated in the days to come. As the impact of this storm on Texas communities is heart wrenching, many will seek to contribute to help those in need.

BBBs are already seeing crowdfunding appeals of a dubious nature, and in the days ahead expect to see “storm chasers” looking to make a quick buck off of clean-up efforts (bbb.org/storm). Consumers can report suspected scams to BBB Scam Tracker (bbb.org/scamtracker) or the Texas Attorney General’s hotline (800-621-0508 or consumeremergency@nag.texas.gov).

BBB Wise Giving Alliance suggests that donors keep the following tips in mind to help avoid questionable appeals for support:

1. Verify the trustworthiness of soliciting relief organizations by visiting Give.org to access free reports that specify if the charity meets the 20 BBB Standards for Charity Accountability.

2. See if the charity has an on-the-ground presence in the impacted areas. Unless the charity already has staff in the affected areas, it may be difficult to bring in new aid workers to provide assistance quickly. See if the charity’s website clearly describes what the charity can do to address immediate needs. 

3. Find out if the charity is providing direct aid or raising money for other groups. Some charities may be raising money to pass along to relief organizations. If so, you may want to consider “avoiding the middleman” and giving directly to those that have a presence in the region. Or, at a minimum, check out the ultimate recipients of these donations to see whether they are equipped to provide aid effectively. 

4. Be cautious about gifts of clothing, food or other in-kind donations. In-kind drives for food and clothing, while well intentioned, may not necessarily be the quickest way to help those in need – unless the organization has the staff and infrastructure to distribute such aid properly. Ask the charity about its transportation and distribution plans. Be wary of those who are not experienced in disaster relief assistance. 

5. Understand crowdfunding. Keep in mind that some crowdfunding sites do very little vetting of individuals who decide to post for assistance after a disaster, and it is often difficult for donors to verify the trustworthiness of crowdfunding requests for support. If you decide to contribute via crowdfunding, it is probably best to give to people who you personally know that have posted requests for assistance. For more Give.org tips on crowdfunding, check out this Wise Giving Wednesday post.

6. Phases of disaster relief. Remember that every disaster has several phases – rescue, emergency relief, and recovery. Each part relies on public support and continuing funding for success. The need for donations doesn’t stop when the headlines do.

7. Recovery time line. For many communities, recovery will be a long-term activity that can take many months or years to accomplish, depending on the extent of the damage. Those truly concerned about helping communities bounce back will have many opportunities to help.

8. Disaster planning. Although it may seem obvious, no one wants to experience a repeat performance of a disaster. Areas that work toward recovery will probably also need to develop plans to better respond to a similar storm in the future. Even those that already had measures in place can find ways to improve based on experience.

The following is a list of BBB Accredited Charities (i.e., organizations that meet the 20 BBB Standards for Charity Accountability) that are raising funds for Hurricane Harvey relief assistance. This list will be updated as additional relief efforts come to BBB WGA’s attention. 

American Red Cross

AmeriCares

Church World Service

Direct Relief

GlobalGiving Foundation

Humane Society of the United States

Islamic Relief USA

MAP International

Operation USA

Salvation Army

Save the Children

United Methodist Committee on Relief

United Way of Greater Houston

(Better Business Bureau contributed to this report.)

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