As we have seen in the news recently, four hurricanes have made landfall, causing a massive amount of damage and untold suffering in the gulf coast region, Caribbean Islands, and specifically the states of Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico.
At a time like this, many of us desire to assist, as we can. On page 10, we report how Scout Troop 770 held a car wash to raise funds for the American Red Cross and on page 12, we have the story of how local businesswoman Kimberly Crossland found a unique way to assist. On page 3, you can read about how two Senita Valley Elementary School 4th graders, Nadine Ponce de Leon and Karly Guenaga have initiated a community supply drive to help hurricane victims.
To assist in our efforts to donate, on page 26, we have an article from the Better Business Bureau on tips to guide our responsible giving. Unfortunately, at a time like this, there are many who seek to take advantage of others through dubious social media “crowded-funded” requests for assistance or phone solicitations. The Federal Trade Commission reports that some of these charities are “sham” operations, often asking for funds to support military families, veterans, police or firefighters. Of course, some of these are legitimate operations, but many are not. I just had a call like this the day before I wrote this article. If you want to help your local fire, police, or sheriffs department, just give them a call – they have legitimate local charities that they recommend and steer you towards, (as I confirmed in a call with Tucson PD). Additionally, there are a few online sites where you can investigate various charities – BBB Wise Giving Alliance (www.give.org); Charity Navigator (www.charitynavigator.org); and Charity Watch (www.charitywatch.org).
Finally, for many years when I was a reserve deputy, part of my volunteering was to serve as a member of the local Community Emergency Response Team, which is an organization of volunteers who have received training in basic disaster response skills to supplement emergency responders in the event of a major disaster. One of the important recommendations the CERT team put emphasis on was individual and family emergency preparedness. On page 31, there is an article that addresses preparedness and some things to consider.