DENVER (CBS4) – When seeing how many people have been affected by the tornado in Oklahoma, it’s obvious that help will be needed for quite some time, but there is a process to providing that help.
There have been many inquiries about sending items to Oklahoma, but logistically that would only create more problems. Gino Greco, CEO and President of the American Red Cross Mile High Chapter, says it’s best for folks to just donate money right now.
“It allows us to be more efficient, it allows us to move quickly and get things on the ground where people need them and what they need in real time,” Greco said. “The other positive impact which people don’t normally think about is the fact there could be an economic development aspect that allows us to buy stuff closest to the source; and there’s always kind of this disaster after a disaster that can happen from an economic standpoint.
Greco said as of now the Mile High Chapter has sent two people in support of the operation.
“We have people on standby; we have our emergency response vehicles on standby. What they’re trying to do is move things quickly as close as the can as possible to the source,” he said. “We have 30 emergency response vehicles across the network already in route or in Oklahoma City.”
As for those who want to volunteer to help with future disasters, there’s some information that the Red Cross can help them with.
“People often call us and they want to go (right away) … we have one of the most trained work forces out there and people are specialized in their skill-sets,” he said. “We encourage people to get on our website, ColoradoRedCross.org. They can sign up there to be a volunteer and we start putting them through the process, and then they’ll be ready to go.”
To make a $10 donation, text “Red Cross” to 90999 on a cellphone.
The Better Business Bureau suggests being wary of phone calls or someone at your door asking for donations. It’s better for you to contact the organization directly to pledge money. And don’t give out your credit card number over the phone to someone you don’t know.
Additional Wise Giving Tips
- Check out charities with the BBB. Reports on charitable organizations can be found at denver.bbb.org or by calling (303) 758-2100. Note that individual memorial funds will not have a BBB report as they are not subject to our standards.
- Do not give donations over the phone. You cannot easily verify who is on the other end. Either donate to the organization in person, by mail only sending to a verified and trusted address or on the charity’s secure and trusted website.
- Do not ever pay with cash (pay with check or credit card) and be wary of anyone that wants to send a courier or use an overnight delivery service to pick up your donation. Do not ever pay via wire transfer. Requests for wire transfers are always a sign of a scam.
- Beware of charities that use names or similar sounding names of well-known and trusted organizations. Always verify they are who they say they are. For instance, if they say they’re with the Red Cross, ask which chapter and call directly to verify the solicitor before donating.
- Refuse high-pressure appeals. If the organization is legitimate, they’ll still need your donation tomorrow or whenever you are ready to give.