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Donating to help Kentucky and other states hit by tornadoes

Multiple tornadoes and severe storms wreaked havoc last weekend through several southern and Midwest states, killing more than 70 in Kentucky alone. This photo shows destruction in Mayfield, Kentucky. Photo from Accuweather.com
This huge tornado was on the ground for 227 miles.

People are looking for ways to help those in need as Kentucky and other states begin to recover from the damage caused by severe storms and multiple tornadoes over the weekend.

BBB’s Give.org recommends before making a contribution or sending a donation to verify if the charity they choose to support meets the BBB Standards for Charity Accountability.

“Instead of clicking on links that others may send in texts and social media, make a donation directly through the charity’s website”. Says Lisa Frohnapfel, President and CEO of the Better Business Bureau Serving Western Michigan. “In an emergency, that is the fastest way to help those who need it. The BBB lists legitimate charities at give.org.”

Take time to find out how the organization plans to address immediate or long term needs. The first request for a donation may not be the best choice. 

The BBB suggests starting with these Accredited Charities to provide assistance:

American Red Cross announced how they are providing assistance across multiple states. Go to: https://www.redcross.org/about-us/news-and-events/news/2021/red-cross-responds-to-deadly-tornadoes.html

Salvation Army (the national office is a BBB Accredited Charity) also shared how they are providing assistance in some areas. Go to: https://disaster.salvationarmyusa.org/news/2021/12/11/central-territory-provides-eds-support-following-multiple-tornadoes

Feeding America is active in providing groceries to those in need. Go to: https://www.feedingamerica.org/find-your-local-foodbank


Crowdfunding campaigns are already being set up for those in need.  While some may be drawn to providing direct assistance to individuals, BBB Wise Giving Alliance recommends the following tips:

  • Give to people and organizations you know. It is safest to give to crowdfunding postings of people you personally know. If that is not possible, consider a posting that is being managed by an established charitable organization that can be checked out.
  • Not all crowdfunding sites operate alike.  Some crowdfunding platforms do a better job of vetting postings and projects that appear on their site than others. Review the site’s description of its procedures. If they do take precautions, they generally announce that fact loudly to help encourage giving.
  • See if the posting describes how funds will be used. Vague descriptions of how the collected funds will be used should also be met with caution. Thoughtful collections will take the added step of identifying and verifying needs before money is raised.
  • Don’t assume pictures represent an official connection to the person or family identified.  Unfortunately, some crowdfunding postings may be using pictures of needy individuals without their permission. As a result, you can’t assume an official connection. Again, each site has different rules on what they allow.
  • Your contribution may not be deductible as a charitable gift. If a crowdfunding posting is claiming to be helping a specific named individual or family, donors in the U.S. generally cannot take a federal income tax deduction, even if the individual or family is in need.  See IRS Publication 526, for more information on this subject.  

Report any suspicious donation requests to bbb.org/scamtracker.

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Ray Winnie
Intandem Credit Union


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