Typhoon Haiyan, which touched down Friday, November 8, is now being called the strongest storm ever to make landfall in history. It battered the Philippines with sustained winds of almost 200 miles an hour. Over 10,000 people are believed to have perished, and over 1.2 million Filipino residents are at risk.
In the years I’ve been running this blog, I’ve seen a sad but rather predictable pattern to natural disasters like the one we’ve seen most recently in the Philippines with Typhoon Haiyan. The news media will show photos of the devastation and have heart-wrenching stories of those whose lives have been destroyed or forever changed. That’ll trigger an outpouring of support. Sadly, often there will be unscrupulous people who set up fake charity hotlines and Web sites in an effort to make a profit off the suffering of others. And then, after a few weeks pass, once the next news story hits most people will forget about the devastated areas, even though those in those areas may still be years away from recovery and will be in even greater need of help.
The one point I’ve stressed before–and will stress again–is to do your home work when giving. Avoid giving donations by text or at a Web site you don’t recognize. Send cash to a recognized charity rather than things like used clothes or canned food, which in many cases only get in the way. And please remember that even after the nightly news stops showing the pictures, the suffering is still there, and so is the need for your prayer and support.
The one Web site I always turn to first in situations like this when I’m looking to donate is Charity Navigator. They do an amazing job of evaluating charities and giving them a star rating from 1 to 4. 4-star charities are the best of the best. When you give to one of these charities, you can pretty much rest assured that your donation has the best chance of going directly to helping someone in need, versus getting tied up in political or bureaucratic nonsense.
Specifically, these are the charities that Charity Navigator has identified as 4-star charities, and who have committed to promising that if you designate your donation to go to help Typhoon Haiyan victims, that it will be spent there and nowhere else.
Action Against Hunger
American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee
Architecture for Humanity
Concern Worldwide US
Feed My Starving Children
Forward Edge International
International Relief Teams
International Rescue Committee
Lutheran World Relief
Matthew 25: Ministries
Medical Ministry International
Medical Teams International
United States Fund for UNICEF
Water Missions International
World Food Program USA
Each of these, of course, are 501 (c)(3) designated charities, so your donation will be cash-deductible.