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Be careful when you donate. Some Wilmington-area nonprofits are ready to help after Hurricane Florence.
Lots of groups are collecting donations to aid victims of Hurricane Florence. Before you give, though, experts say it pays to do your homework.
“If somebody calls, don’t just give them money,” said Laura Brewer, a spokesman for the N.C. Department of Justice. “Do a little research. Find a charity that aligns with your values.”
It pays to support a group that has a long track record and is well-established, Brewer said. Websites such as Guidestar and the Better Business Bureau can provide profiles and data on individual nonprofits and charities. For more information, contact the N.C. Department of Justice at 919-716-6000.
Following is a partial list of reputable charities and nonprofits.
Local churches and church groups are reaching out. Grace United Methodist Church, 401 Grace St., is currently fixing some 1,100 meals per day to distribute to shut-ins, seniors and others in Wilmington’s Northside and southside neighborhoods, according to youth minister Kelly Ahlers. The church is also distributing bottled water, dry food, toilet paper, shampoo and other personal items. Volunteers are welcome to help. Donations may be made online and GraceDowntown.net. For information, call the church at 910-763-5197. Many other churches are collecting donations and supplies for distribution. Contact your church to see what it might be doing.
The American Red Cross is accepting cash donations online at redcross.org. The main office of the Red Cross’s Cape Fear chapter is located at 1102 S. 16th St,
The Salvation Army is accepting Hurricane Florence donations online at give.helpsalvationarmy.org or phone 800-725-2769 (800-SAL-ARMY). In Wilmington, the Army’s shelter at 820 N. Second St. lost much of its roof, according to Major Mark Craddock, but Army food trucks are at locations around the city distributing meals. To find a Salvation Army food truck location, visit disaster.salvationarmyusa.org.
The state of North Carolina operates its own N.C. Disaster Relief Fun. Contributions may be made online at nc.gov/agencies/volunteer/disaster-assistance. Checks may also be mailed to N.C. Disaster Relief Fund, 20312 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, N.C. 27699-0312.
Operation BBQ Relief, a national nonprofit, has set up a mobile kitchen serving barbecue plates in the parking lot of the former Kmart on South College Road. The nonprofit was formed in 2011 in the wake of a tornado strike in Joplin, Missouri. In Wilmington, it has deployed some 160 volunteers capable of serving up to 25,000 meals a day. The group is accepting donations at operationbbqrelief.org.
Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina is accepting Florence relief donations online at foodbankcenc.org. According to the food bank, each $10 donated can provide 50 meals.
The N.C. Community Foundation, an umbrella organization for community nonprofits, is accepting Hurricane Florence relief donations at nccommunityfoundation.org.
The Cape Fear Volunteer Center is taking applications from volunteers and individuals/groups that need volunteers at www.capefearvolunteercenter.org.
Reporter Ben Steelman can be reached at 910-343-2208 or Ben.Steelman@StarNewsOnline.com.