Officials warn to check charities before donating to Dorian victims

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Many people from the Lehigh and Delaware valleys are helping Hurricane Dorian victims down south by making donations, but officials advise double-checking charities before giving money.

More than two dozen American Red Cross staff and volunteers are now being deployed from the Philadelphia and tri-state region to help in areas that under a state of emergency.

"We want to make sure that everyone is adequately prepared," said AJ Suero, regional communications manager for Red Cross Pennsylvania.

Suero is among those who are in the Carolinas, Georgia and Florida helping nearly 7,000 people.

"Anything you want to give is great. No donation is too small. Just $5 can maybe provide a blanket for someone who needs one," said Sophie Kluthe, regional communications manager Red Cross Pennsylvania.

Red Cross and federal officials are warning citizens to do their research to make sure a charity isn't a scam.

The Federal Trade Commission suggests using the following websites to research the authenticity of charities:

Officials also say to never pay by gift card or wire transfer. Credit card and checks are safer.

Also, watch out for names that look like well-known charities and be sure to search charity names online. Others may have left reviews.

Ask how much of your donation goes to the program you want to support.

"Know that when you donate (to the Red Cross), you are helping the people impacted by Hurricane Dorian," Kluthe said.

Red Cross officials are also urging those in unaffected regions to donate blood.

Roughly 70 blood drives and donation centers had to be canceled and now there is a major need.
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