If you want to donate items to Superstorm Sandy relief efforts you might want to think twice before sending along a lamp or a vacuum. According to the Associated Press relief organizations in desperate need of food, clothing and even cash, are instead being forced to deal with large household items that are simply not a priority.
Hurricane Sandy has led to a huge outpouring of support, however one expert is calling current donations a “second disaster after the disaster.”
The biggest problem for agencies is determining where to store items and how to distribute them. Agencies prefer cash because the needs of people change as efforts go further along.
Experts suggest that people wishing to donate physical items speak directly with the groups they want to support. Groups can better equip helpers with a list of items that will best serve their particular needs.
In many cases agencies are simply re-donating items to the Salvation Army and other local outfits that are better equipped to deal with items the agencies don’t normally deal with.
Some extreme cases have led to trucks full of items being delivered to different states just to get them out of the way.
The biggest need for most relief agencies? Food.
According to American Red Cross spokeswoman Melanie Pipkin:
“Well-intentioned, yet inappropriate” donations can divert relief groups and governments.”
In the meantime plenty of cash is also flooding into the area. The American Red Cross has collected $117 million, while the Salvation Army has taken in $5 million. Even pop superstar Lady Gaga has donated $1 million.
Up next is a benefit show being hosted by comedian Louis C.K. that show will happen in the borough of Staten Island.
In the meantime just remember that cash and food are priorities and honestly if most agencies have the option to choose they will almost always take the easier to deal with cash option.