DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Hurricane Laura tore through the Gulf Coast Thursday, leaving behind a mess for residents to clean up — even though the Miami Valley is far from the destruction, people can still lend a helping hand.
Emily Manrique, marketing specialist for the Salvation Army in Dayton encourages people outside of the Gulf region to donate, saying that they can be sure their funds will be allocated appropriately.
“They can donate locally, and you can designate those funds specifically to the Hurricane Laura relief program and they will make sure that those funds get where they are supposed to go.”
Manrique said check and cash donations are more effective than goods for a few reasons, like the ease of accessing the correct materials and how it can help disaster victims long after the emergency is over.
“When you donate to the relief fund, what it does, is that it helps us supply long-term relief so it’s not just making sure they have water today, it’s how we can help them get back into their homes,” Manrique said.
Officials at the Miami Valley Red Cross agreed, adding that the organization honors donor intent, ensuring funds will be distributed according to donor requests. They also said donations of goods in place of money can add to the organization’s expenses, since they often have to store and clean those products.
Manrique said, on top of that, disaster relief organizations are always preparing for these types of emergencies. She said the southern region of the country, which was most heavily affected, already had many of the goods they needed.
“We actually are not able to accept items like that here. There typically tends to be a lot of those items donated elsewhere, but really the biggest need is the donations.”
Communications and Marketing Director for the Red Cross, Marita Salkowski, said those who want to lend a helping hand are encouraged to volunteer at this time. She said while it may be too late to assist with Hurricane Laura efforts, the organization is always lining up volunteers for future emergencies.