In early October 2016, Hurricane Matthew made landfall across the Bahamas, Cuba and Haiti before impacting the United States. While the impact to Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas was significant, it was absolutely devastating to Cuba and Haiti, where hundreds died and thousands were left homeless. The devastation led to calls for humanitarian assistance from across the globe.
Individuals Were Asked to Donate to the Red Cross
A campaign was organized that asked individuals to donate $10 by sending a text message to a dedicated phone number. The money would then be collected and distributed as needed to victims of the storm in Haiti and elsewhere. While donating to a good cause may seem like a nice thing to to do, it could have financial consequences for those who decided to give.
Can You Afford to Donate?
The first question that you need to ask yourself before you give away any of your money is if you can afford to do so. Although $10 may seem like a small amount, that could equal more than an hour of work for someone making minimum wage. That money could help pay for rent, food or basic medical supplies for yourself and your family. Therefore, you need to make sure that you have sound financial and debt management practices in place before you decide to part with your hard earned cash. The one positive is that donations to groups such as UNICEF USA are tax-deductible.
What Is the Money Used For?
The money was used to make sure that medical assistance could be brought to the people of Haiti and elsewhere in the Caribbean that were impacted by the storm. It was also used to provide food and shelter to the thousands of people who were left homeless by the storm. In some parts of Haiti, metal roofs were stripped clean from the structures that they were keeping safe from the elements. Some parts of the country were impassable for hours or days after the storm, and donations helped pay for recovery efforts despite the danger.
Crowdfunding Sites are Also Being Used to Collect Donations
In addition to texting dedicated phone numbers to send a donation, you may also donate using crowdfunding and other online portals. This enables people from around the globe to donate and contribute to the effort to help those in need. If you are going to donate through such a site, you may want to make sure that the funds are actually going to where they say that they will go. This can be done by reviewing the public records that charities and nonprofits must file with the state and federal government. You may also be able to talk directly with someone from a charity or someone who has worked with the charity that you want to donate through.
Hurricane Matthew caused billions of dollars in damage when it tore through the island nations in the Caribbean. However, with your generosity and the generosity of others like yourself, it may be possible to raise the money needed to help the people who have been impacted and help them try to return to a normal life.