This past week has been disastrous for communities in West Virginia who suffered from some of the worst flooding they’ve seen in generations. With over at least 24 casualties, 500 homes damaged, and thousands of people displaced, these floods are some of the worst to hit the country in recent memory. In light of such a troubled week, and in the face of what is expected to be more flash flooding over the next two days, it’s no wonder so many are scrambling to find ways to contribute to West Virginia flood relief efforts.
Giving Back on the Ground
While there is little we can do from way out here in the Silicon Valley to help the affected people in West Virginia, we have found the people who can. Of course you can always contact the national center of the Red Cross to see what West Virginia Flood relief measures they have that need support, but we’ve also identified one of the local charities in that area, too.
The Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition has established drop-offs all over the area where nearby residents can bring vital supplies including clean drinking water to be distributed to those affected by the flooding. Food, water, and shelter are all the most basic, and most critical of West Virginia flood relief efforts we can contribute to, and any inquiries on how to donate to the OVEC directly can be sent to their Relief Project Coordinator, Natalie Thompson.
Beware of Scams
It’s sad to have to make this disclaimer, but the reality is that with the outpouring of love and support that tragedies attract is also a lure for opportunistic criminals. These West Virginia flood relief efforts will not be any different. Make sure to scrutinize your contributions for any charitable donations to avoid falling victim to a phony charity. We’ve put together these guidelines that can help you protect yourself from fraudsters-
- Research any unfamiliar organization and never feel pressured to donate in cash or via wire transfer.
- Limit identity theft and avoid third-party internet links by confirming charities via Charity Navigator or GuideStar.
- If there is a familiar name to the charity, verify that the local chapter is authorized to solicit funds on behalf of its parent organization.
- Avoid charities that refuse to detail mission, use of donations, or proof of tax deductibility, and always insist on receipts for your records.
Protecting Yourself Moving Forward
Ideally we wouldn’t need to consider how we could need our own relief, but there exists an incalculable number of ways that our businesses could be rendered inaccessible or otherwise disabled. We’re proud to be supporting hundreds of businesses across the globe that have benefited from our disaster recover and emergency failover service, PBX Parachute. And while it is always difficult to think about the worst that our own companies can face, it’s times like these that the importance of doing so is most felt.
Hopefully all of these affected companies will be back and on their feet in no time at all, but until then our thoughts and prayers continue to go out to all of the families in flood-damaged West Virginia.