By Kathy Knotts
Chesapeake Country may not have lost lives during its recent spate of tornadoes, but it certainly felt the heartbreaking impact of the damage the storms produce.
Many are now rallying to help out the victims of a devastating series of tornadoes that hit Kentucky, Illinois, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Missouri Dec. 10.
Yet, there are some out there who prey on our kindness and local leaders want us to be wary when sending financial donations to those in need.
Last week, the Anne Arundel County Police Department issued a notice alerting people to a rise in scams targeting people trying to help the victims of the tornado.
If you are looking for ways to help the communities affected, the police say do some homework before donating. “Unfortunately, scammers also are busy trying to take advantage,” the alert states. “If you’re looking for a way to help, we urge you to be cautious of potential charity scams. Do some research to ensure that your donation will go to a reputable organization that will use the money as promised.”
The police department, along with the Better Business Bureau offers advice on how you can avoid putting money into the pockets of scammers.
- Donate to organizations you know and trust. Think of charities with a proven track record of dealing with disasters. Our suggestions include the American Red Cross, Feeding America, Global Giving, or Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund.
- Be alert for charities that seem to have sprung up overnight in connection with current events. Check out the charity with the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, or GuideStar.
- Designate that your funds are for specific disaster relief, rather than a general fund that the charity could use for any of its work.
- If you get donation requests by email, never click on links or open attachments unless you know the sender. You could unknowingly install malware on your computer.
- Don’t assume that charity messages posted on social media are legitimate. Research the organization yourself.
- When texting to donate, confirm the number with the source before you donate. The charge will show up on your mobile phone bill, but the donations are not immediate.
Homestead Helps Out
Homestead Gardens recently announced that they are partnering with the Southern High School Southern FFA (Future Farmers of America) group to collect donations and items for Kentucky Tornado Relief. Direct support will be provided to the community of Bremen, Ky., and to Mr. Lee, a high school agriculture teacher in Hopkins County who lost his home. The small farming town reported the death of 12 people due to the tornado and countless homes and farm fields were destroyed.
Homestead Gardens posted to its Facebook page that “farmers are worried how they will ever be able to run a tractor and equipment across their farms. Of course, they are worried about their livelihood and caring for their families. This could not have happened at a worse time, with winter and Christmas.”
Homestead plans to fill a truck with donations and drive to Kentucky on Dec. 27. Items needed include pet and animal feed; diapers; warm socks; jackets; 4-inch nails; plywood; 2x4s; flashlights; solar/crank radios; utility gloves; trash bags; water troughs; trough heaters; fence boards; fencing wire; log chains; ratchet straps; hammers; fencing pliers; large plastic totes (black/yellow); and gift cards. The organizers are also raising funds to purchase road magnets to remove nails from fields and roads, stump and post remover tractor attachments to remove lumber blown into the ground. Donated items should be brought to the Davidsonville location. Direct financial donations can be made at: https://bit.ly/3GVemKM.
For more information, contact Dr. Stacy Eckels, Southern High FFA advisor and agriculture teacher, [email protected].