How to avoid charity scams if you want to help tornado outbreak victims
Check the BBB for accredited charities before donating
Recovery efforts are just beginning after communities were destroyed during a multiday deadly severe weather outbreak that spawned more than 60 tornadoes from Oklahoma to Louisiana.
Storm damage survey teams with the National Weather Service have confirmed at least 64 tornadoes since the outbreak began in Oklahoma and Texas on Monday night.
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The severe weather churned out more twisters in Louisiana and Mississippi throughout the week. An EF-3-rated tornado caused catastrophic damage to Arabi, a New Orleans community, that recently suffered a hit from Category 4 Hurricane Ida.
How to help
After a disaster, blood donations are one way everyone can help wherever you are because natural disasters can strain local blood banks.
The American Red Cross is on the ground in Texas, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama due to the tornado outbreak. Find ways to donate, volunteer or give blood at redcross.org.
The United Way of Southeast Louisiana has launched a tornado relief fund to help with recovery and long-term rebuilding. The nonprofit is also hosting a supply drive for families impacted by the tornado. Donations can be dropped off at 2515 Canal St. in New Orleans through Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
"Nearly two-thirds of households in the affected areas of St. Bernard and Orleans parishes don’t earn enough to save for disasters, and many are still recovering from Hurricane Ida’s impacts," UWSELA President Michael Williamson said in a news release. "But no matter the disaster, United Way and our generous supporters are always here before, during, and after the storm."
Texas received the brunt of the storm with 30 confirmed tornadoes.
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The Austin Disaster Relief Network launched the Central Texas Tornado Relief Fund and is raising money for tornado survivors.
Avoid being scammed
Before donating, there are ways to ensure your money is going to a worthy cause and not into the pockets of potential scammers.
The Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance is actively reviewing fundraisers and nonprofits in the wake of the tornado outbreak to make sure people's hard-earned money does not go to scammers.
There are red flags to look out for before donating your dollars. Be cautious of organizations that popped up overnight following a disaster and only rely on verified charities.
After the December tornado outbreak in Mayfield, Kentucky, the BBB created a list of accredited charities assisting with tornado relief efforts. Feed the Children, CARE USA, GlobalGiving Foundation and the International Medical Corps are just a few groups that have stepped up to help.
More verified charities can be found at BBB's Give.org.