How to Help Harvey Victims

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NORTHEAST, Wis. (WBAY) - Seeing the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey leads many to wonder how they can help, whether it's donating money or goods.

It's only natural when a disaster like Harvey hits for people to want to come to the aid of others. But it's also a time when some try to prey on the generosity of others.

According to Susan Bach with the Better Business Bureau, "People in Wisconsin and everywhere are thinking, how can I help? And I think that the scammers know this and this is a time where they see this as an opportunity to make money."

That's why the Better Business Bureau is cautioning people to do their research before making any sort of monetary donation to a Harvey cause. The BBB's Giving Alliance website is a good place to start.

"If we have a record of that charity, it will tell you how long it's been in business, how it uses its money, whether or not it meets all of our charity standards so that would be my first advice," says Bach.

One of the charities vetted is the American Red Cross. We've reported about the dozens of Wisconsin volunteers who are now boots on the ground in Texas helping in various capacities. But, with thousands of people living in shelters, the Red Cross in encouraging those who want to help to make a monetary donation.

Steve Hansen with the Northeast Wisconsin Chapter of the Red Cross says, "What is needed are those financial dollars that can be turned immediately into the very specific types of help that's needed by individuals."

While money is needed, organizations like Saving Paws Animal Rescue are collecting goods and they will be donating them to organizations in Texas that they've teamed up with for years.

Dog and cat food, along with towels and blankets are what saving paws partners are asking for.

According to Glenda Stadler from Saving Paws Animal Rescue adds, "I've reached out to them and said ok guys, what do you need? We want to make a trip, we want to help you guys out and they were, of course, very appreciative."

The BBB says those kinds of items, if specifically requested, are good to donate, but again people need to do their homework as to what they're donating and to who.