Harvey bringing out the best in people

People watching the events unfolding as the Houston area has been hit by Hurricane Harvey must be impressed by two very different things.

The first is the magnitude of this storm, the likes of which we have not seen in this nation. Emergency management officials have said this storm is unlike any they have seen, and have said that they do not have the resources to fully respond to everyone in need.

The other impression that has been made has been the response, not just of firefighters, law enforcement and National Guard officials, but also of ordinary citizens. Many people have gone out of their way to help out their neighbors in a time of need. Just weeks after we saw protests bringing out the worst in our country, we have seen these storms bring out the best. Everyday people are doing whatever they can to assist and comfort those who have been displaced by record floodwaters.

Of course, not everyone can offer direct aid, and people around the county have been generous, donating to various charities that offer relief help. Unfortunately, this is an area that sometimes brings out the worst in people.

Those who want to donate for flood relief need to be careful where they are sending their money. If you are solicited for a donation, make sure that the money is going where it is intended. The best way to do this is to rely on established charities with a track record of helping others… The American Red Cross, Catholic Charities and Salvation Army are among many organizations that, when you donate money, you can be sure it will go to those in need.

How can you avoid being scammed? The Federal Trade Commission offers tips on how to avoid fraudulent fundraising campaigns on its website.