As a series of disasters impact the Gulf Coast and central Mexico, people in the Tri-State area are reaching out their support to those in need.
American Red Cross
Amid the recent storms, the organization sent teams to the U.S. Virgin Islands through Florida, all the way to the mid-Atlantic region as needed. The Red Cross has been overwhelmed by the number of volunteers wanting to help the victims, sparking special training sessions to prepare those looking to help.
The Salvation Army
The 150-year-old charity operates in 127 countries and it currently coordinating relief efforts following all the recent hurricanes.
Stephen Siller Tunnel To Towers Foundation
Named for FDNY firefighter Stephen Siller killed on 9/11, the foundation has given funds to help families of fallen first responders and those affected by Superstorm Sandy. The organization is currently raising funds to help families hurt by the effects of Hurricane Irma.
Puerto Rican Family Institute
The group will be collecting water, dry food and batteries at the Puerto Rican Family Institute at 145 W. 15th Street in Manhattan.
Ricardo Fuentes-Nieva, the executive director of Oxfam Mexico, told CBS News this week that the group’s first priority is assisting in the search and recovery efforts to find people who may still be alive under trapped buildings. He said finding housing for those who can’t return to damaged structures will be the second phase of the group’s response.
Mexican Red Cross
The Mexican Red Cross deployed 90 ambulances and a rescue unit in the immediate aftermath of Tuesday’s earthquake, helping to search for survivors and treating the injured. The organization says it has dozens of doctors and nurses assisting in the effort, and more than 500 volunteers and staff members were working in the hours after the quake.
Save The Children
Save the Children says it has workers on the ground in Mexico City to assist in the response, with particular concern focused on as many as 100 school children who could be trapped under rubble.
Hand In Hand
The Benefit for Hurricane Relief telethon raised more than 55 million so far for victims of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. You can donate online.
Other Sources & Warnings
New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman warns people about giving gifts of clothing or food, unless the organization has experience with disaster relief.
Schneiderman said if you ask questions about what your money will be used for, legitimate charities will willingly provide the information. But the ones that are not legitimate will be less forthcoming.
“Anytime you call a charity, if they are not willing to give specifics about how they spend the contributions; what they do with excess donations, you should just walk away and go to another charity,” he said.
Schneiderman also suggests directly donating to a charity, instead of texting your donate, since typically money does not make it to the charity until you pay your phone bill.
Checking On Loved Ones In Puerto Rico
Our station WFOR-TV has shared these guidelines for people looking for answers.
For those who know someone who needs help on the island, call 787-777-0940. This is a radio station that is receiving emergency calls.
Another number you can call is the hurricane hotline at 1-877-976-2400. A tourism company set up the hotline for hotels, guests and industry partners.
Callers are asked to be patient and keep calling if the line is busy, and do not hang up if you are on hold.
The American Red Cross’s website may also be used to search for people who have already registered themselves as safe. See safeandwell.communityos.org/cms/ to search for individuals.