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Local United Way director urges giving community to give nationally to recognized agencies in Texas

By Jennifer Zartman Romano

Gripped by massive flooding across Houston, Texas, citizens are struggling and scrambling for food, shelter and safety.
Whitley County residents have been watching these events unfold and are looking for ways to help.
But, according to United Way of Whitley County executive director Cindy Baker, giving hearts should be tempered with clear thinking. Often, when national tragedies occur scam artists crop up and even well-meaning folks can't get resources directed where they are needed most.
"I would say right now if you're wanting to do something and contribute, the best thing you can do is a financial contribution," Baker said. "Even thought hey're going to need food, clothing, etc., we don't have the means to make sure it gets to them properly."
Often, regular citizens or groups will attempt to collect items and drive them to areas stricken by disaster, only to make the situation worse when they get in the way of larger efforts already underway. She said that urgent needs right now are for food and shelter in the hardest hit areas.
"For the best results, I suggest supporting the Red Cross and the Texas United Way who are set up to collect thought their channels," she added. Eventually, there will be more needs and that is when, Baker said, people will be encouraged to do more.
"We love that people want to give, but their best avenue for giving is through national organizations who already have the accounts set up for giving. We want people who are trained to handle it and who are already on the ground working it to be able to use our support in ways that are needed," she added.
Baker recommends the following avenues for giving:
Local United Ways in Texas: https://www.unitedway.org/the-latest/press/hurricane-harvey#local-efforts
The American Red Cross:  https://www.redcross.org/donate/hurricane-harvey?utm_source=arcfacebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=harvey 

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