Giving Back

Hurricane Harvey - How to Donate Safely

ROSELLE/ROSELLE PARK, NJ - In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, many residents have been asking what can I do to help? Where are donation sites located? What can I donate?

As fast as we try to create a list, there are people starting donation pages and donation sites in many towns all across the country. 

While there are some donations spots and charities locally that you can safely donate to, check with your local mayor, council members, churches or other authorities for drop site information. 

Sign Up for E-News

Another safe way to contribute is to contact one of the larger organizations such as the American Red Cross at www.redcross.org, or PayPal at www.paypal.com, who has set up a donation page on their site. 

If you would like to help donate towards the care of animals, the Humane Society is set up for taking donations on their site at https://secure.humanesociety.org

Despite the harrowing circumstance, this unfortunately is also an opportune moment for some people to prey on the benevolent intentions of good hearted donors. 

The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs has offered some advice for those looking to make donations to beware of phony charities and to “Investigate Before You Donate,” and avoid fraudulent charitable solicitations.

“New Jersey residents are always willing to help out their neighbors when tragedy strikes, often by making donations to aid with recovery,” said Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino. “Sadly, there are always those scammers who look to take advantage of disaster for their own benefit.”

“Those looking to help should seek out reputable and legitimate charities,” said Steve Lee, Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs. “Residents should always take the necessary steps to make sure their money is actually going to help those in need.”

To help consumers discern which charities are legitimate and to protect against scammers, the Division offers the following tips:

• Give to charities you know and trust. Never give to a charity you know nothing about. If a charity is new, that doesn't necessarily mean you shouldn't donate – but learn as much as possible before you decide to entrust the organization with your money.  Especially after a natural disaster, many “pop up” charities often adopt names that include the name of the storm and may not have the ability or intention of carrying out the stated charitable mission.

• Learn about the charity's stated mission, and find out how, exactly it plans to use your money. Ask for literature and read it. Honest charities encourage you to ask questions.

• Contact Consumer Affairs' Charities Hotline at 973-504-6215 or state.nj.us/lps/ca2/charities/ to learn about specific charities. You can confirm whether a charity is registered or is exempt from registration requirements. (Certain religious or educational organizations, and those that raise less than $10,000 in a fiscal year, are exempt from the registration requirement). 

• Don't be fooled by a convincing name or professional-looking website. Dishonest charities may use impressive names, or names that closely resemble those of respected, legitimate organizations.

• Don't succumb to pressure. Don't let yourself be pressured into giving, and don't feel you have to contribute on the spot. No legitimate organization will expect you to contribute immediately, even if you have given in the past.

• Ask if the charity uses a professional fundraiser and, if so, what percentage of your contribution will actually go toward relief efforts and how much will be used to pay the fundraiser.

• Beware of unsolicited and phony email notices that claim to be from a charity asking for your credit card information. This scam is called "phishing" and could be used by thieves to commit identity theft. If the charity is unfamiliar to you, check whether the group is registered with Consumer Affairs' Charities Registration Section. If the organization is registered or you know the organization, call directly to find out if the email notice is valid.

• Avoid cash donations if possible. Pay by credit card, or write a check directly to the charity.

• Do not make checks payable to individuals; make checks payable only to those organizations which you found listed as active in the Division database.

• Be wary of providing personal or financial information, even to charities you've confirmed are legitimate. Limit the information to what is needed to process your donation.

• Social media sites can also perpetuate scams. Do not blindly give via these mediums. As with any charity, investigate the groups behind such pleas to ensure that they come from a legitimate organization.

Consumers may obtain information about a charity in several ways. They can ask the charity itself (reputable charities encourage you to do so), or visit the charity's website.

Consumers can also obtain this information from the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs. Visit the Division's Charities Registration page; call the Division's Charities Hotline at 973-504-6215 during regular business hours; or use the Division's free "New Jersey Charity Search" smartphone app.

Consumers are urged to report suspicious solicitations to their local police and to the Division of Consumer Affairs at 1-800-242-5846 (toll free within New Jersey) or 973-504- 6200.
 
Consumers who believe they have been cheated or scammed by a business, or suspect any other form of consumer abuse, can file an online complaint  with the State Division of Consumer Affairs by visiting its website or by calling one of the numbers referenced above.

TAPintoElizabeth.net is Elizabeth’s free daily news source. Sign up for our daily eNews and follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TAPElizabeth and Twitter @TAPElizabeth. 

Download the TAPinto App!   Click here for Android.  Click here for iOS.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Elizabeth

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_ec60039a423eee95393a_scan_0005

Sat, November 25, 10:00 AM

Roselle Park Knights of Columbus #3240 at the Church of the Assumption, Roselle Park

Blood Drive in Roselle Park

Sun, November 26, 3:00 PM

The Snyder Academy of Elizabethtown, Elizabeth

Actors Shakespeare Company presents A Christmas ...

Arts & Entertainment

Tue, November 28, 5:00 PM

Center for Hope Hospice, administration building, Scotch Plains

“VA Benefits for Long Term Care” -- CEU seminar ...

Health & Wellness Other

Local Humanitarians Partner with Community Food Bank of New Jersey to Distribute Turkeys to Those in Need in Elizabeth

November 20, 2017

ELIZABETH, NJ--When James Carey, the Director of Social Services for the Elizabethport Presbyterian Center Inc., received a phone call from the Community Food Bank of New Jersey informing him they were donating 200 turkeys to his agency, he replied, "I'm going to distribute the turkeys to all the parents and staff members at the Early Childhood School and whatever's left over, ...

Elizabeth Football and Cheer Program Seeks Community Support to Raise Funds for 2017 National Cheer & Dance Competition

ELIZABETH, NJ—A local, long-standing program in Elizabeth has the opportunity to compete in the 2017 National Cheer & Dance Competition in Orlando and they are seeking donations from the community to make it happen.

The Football and Cheer Program is a part of PAL (Police Athletic League). Elizabeth PAL was started in 1947 by a group of caring police officers that wanted to make a ...

Tree-Lighting Ceremony to Kick-Off Holiday Festivities -Santa Comes to Elizabeth

ELIZABETH, N.J.--It’s that time of the year, twinkling lights, festive decorations and a chance to visit with the most important guy in a red suit you’ll ever meet.

The Elizabeth Avenue Partnership (EAP) has announced the lineup of holiday events on Elizabeth Avenue this season starting with the Official Tree-Lighting Ceremony at Union Square Plaza on Tuesday, November 28 from ...

Learn How to Defend Against Cyber Bullies

Springfield, N.J.--With the continued rise of social media, an alarming number of children and teens are targets of online bullying. To learn more about cyberbullying tactics and how to fight back against them, parents and caregivers are invited to attend “Bullying & Our Children,” a free public discussion.

This special presentation will be held on Monday, November 27, from ...

Redesigned Elizabeth Train Station on Hold-Mayor Says Fire NJ Transit Executives

November 10, 2017

ELIZABETH, NJ—The Governor-Elect already has a decision to make on his first day in office.

Mayor J. Christian Bollwage is calling upon the Governor-Elect to remove the New Jersey Transit Executive Team of their positions and appoint pro-active, capable individuals, who are in favor of rail improvements. The Mayor has requested that this action be taken in response to New Jersey ...

Fanwood Police Officer with Law Enforcement Team in Puerto Rico Finds Misery and Optimism

November 11, 2017

FANWOOD, NJ -- Like many other visitors to post-hurricane Puerto Rico, Fanwood Police Officer Elliott Bernard says the images seen on TV and online simply don’t capture the enormity of the damage, even two months after the storm. Roads with giant fissures, downed utility poles, epic food and water shortages and the lack of power make day to day life exhausting.

“Every day, you ...

Greater Union County United Way Participates in Giving Tuesday Campaign

November 20, 2017

UNION COUNTY, NJ – On Tuesday, November 28, 2017, United Way of Greater Union County will participate in #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving that follows Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, encouraging generosity and philanthropy around the world.

United Way of Greater Union County, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, focuses on providing critical resources to children and ...

The Two Family House by Lynda Cohen Loigman

The Two-Family House by Lynda Cohen Loigman (St. Martins Griffin, 2016)

 

Author Lynda Cohen Loigman states, “The Two-Family House is a story I thought about for at least ten years before I ever wrote a word. I spent countless hours over a full decade thinking about how Rose, Helen, Abe, and Mort would behave in difficult situations, and how they would feel when faced with ...

Sustained, Severe Cuts Equal Setbacks at NJ Department of Environmental Protection

November 8, 2017

Trenton, N.J.--Long-term budget and staff cuts have severely impacted the ability of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to carry out critical work to protect New Jersey’s environment and residents. This has serious implications for wildlife, public health, and our economy. DEP is charged with managing and protecting the State’s environment and natural ...