Having been spared the worst of Hurricane Michael, the Tampa Bay area is reaching out with donation drives.
But first, some advice.
Major relief organizations urge people to donate cash instead of items that might not be of use and can create logistical nightmares.
CharityWatch ( charitywatch.org) and Charity Navigator ( charitynavigator.org) both rate thousands of charitable organizations. They recommend at least 75 percent of the money they receive be spent on programs and services . The Florida Department of Agriculture’s Check-A-Charity also has information on charities registered with the state at csapp.800helpfla.com/cspublicapp/.
The top charities to provide food, shelter, medical care and other necessities to victims of the storm, compiled by Charity Navigator, include Team Rubicon, Samaritan’s Purse, All Hands and Hearts Smart Response and Direct Relief .
• Cox Media Group’s Tampa radio stations are joining Pepin Distributing and Great Bay Distributors to collect non-perishable supplies for those in the path of Hurricane Michael. All six radio stations will broadcast Friday, between 5 a.m. and 7 p.m., at the WalMart SuperCenter, 1505 N Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa. Supplies needed include bottled water, diapers, baby formula and non-perishable food items.
• The Islamic Society of Tampa Bay is collecting non-perishable food items and water from noon to 7 p.m. Friday at 7326 E Sligh Ave Tampa.• Volunteer Florida is taking cash donations and registering volunteers for disaster assistance at volunteerflorida.org. You can also text "DISASTER" to donate $10 or "DISASTER25" to donate $25 to 20222.
• Farm Share, a 27-year-old food and disaster relief nonprofit in Florida, has warehouses in Quincy, Jacksonville, Pompano Beach and Homestead that are working over time to supply food, water and supplies to the Panhandle. Donations can be made at farmshare.org and news about distribution times and locations will be posted at Facebook.com/farmshare.fl.
• OneBlood was forced to close seven of its donation centers in the Panhandle and south Georgia, and the nonprofit organization has put out a call for donations to help ensure a ready blood supply. To find a donor center or Big Red Bus near you, visit oneblood.org.
• The United Way Worldwide Crisis Response team has been activated and has launched a national United Way Hurricane Michael Recovery Fund at unitedway.org/hurricanemichael.
If you have an event or donation drive set up for Hurricane Michael relief, send an email to [email protected] and we’ll get it listed here.