How to Help Those Impacted By Hurricanes

Photo of woman being rescued from flooded home.

Updated Sept. 7, 2017

The flooding in Texas from Harvey was historic and unprecedented and more damage is expected in Florida and other parts of the U.S. during this busy hurricane season. The photos and videos show unimaginable destruction that will impact thousands of people and families for years to come.

Of course we all want to help!  Here are guidelines on the best way to provide assistance.

Photo of National Guard rescuing people from flooded home in Texas.

Residents being rescued by the Texas National Guard.


Giving Donations

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the most effective way to support disaster survivors is to donate money to reputable charitable organizations. (See list below.)

Please do not donate unsolicited goods such as used clothing, miscellaneous household items, medicine or perishable foodstuffs at this time. When used personal items are donated, staff must be directed away from providing services to survivors in order to sort, package, transport and warehouse items that may not meet the needs of disaster survivors.

If you would like to organize a food or clothing drive, please contact an established disaster relief organization first to determine what is most needed in the affected community and how to ensure the donations are properly collected.


Know Charity Fraud Warning Signs
  1. Do not respond to any unsolicited (spam) incoming emails by clicking on links contained within those messages.
  2. Be skeptical of individuals representing themselves as surviving victims or officials asking for donations via email or social networking sites.
  3. Verify the legitimacy of nonprofit organizations by using online resources that may assist in confirming the group’s existence and its nonprofit status, rather than following a purported link to the site.
  4. Be cautious of emails that claim to show pictures of the disaster areas in attached files because the files may contain viruses. Only open attachments from known senders.
  5. Make contributions directly to known organizations rather than relying on others to make the donation on your behalf to ensure contributions are received and used for intended purposes.
  6. Do not give your personal or financial information to anyone who solicits contributions: providing such information may compromise your identity and make you vulnerable to identity theft.
  7. If you are solicited by a charity, don’t feel rushed or pressured into making an immediate commitment. Ask the caller or solicitor to provide written information about the charity’s programs and finances before you make a contribution.

If you have any questions or concerns about a charity, contact our Office of Consumer Affairs at 703-222-8435 (8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday), or email

Watch our video on best ways to give to charity:


Donating and Volunteering

The need is enormous.  If you want to make a donation or volunteer, please contact the organizations below:

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