How you can help with Hurricane Sandy,
one of the worst storms ever to hit the eastern U.S.
Disaster officials recommend the following organizations
if you could assist in any way with this disaster:

 

The Salvation Army 
If people locally would like to donate to the effort, they can text "STORM" to 80888 on their mobile phone to make a $10 donation; to confirm the gift, respond with the word "Yes."*
 
Your donations make a real difference.
*A $10 donation feeds a disaster survivor for one day.
*A $30 donation provides one food box, containing staple foods for a family of four, or one household cleanup kit, containing brooms, mops, buckets and other cleaning supplies 
*A $100 donation can serve snacks and drinks for 125 survivors and emergency personnel at the scene of a disaster
*A $250 donation can provide one hot meal to 100 people or keep a hydration station operational for 24 hours
*A $500 donation keeps a Salvation Army canteen (mobile feeding unit) fully operational for one day

The American Red Cross
Financial donations help the Red Cross provide shelter, food, emotional support and
other assistance to those affected by disasters like Hurricane Sandy. To donate, people can visit 
www.redcross.org , call 1-800-RED-CROSS, or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to someone's local Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.

American Red Cross' Blood Supply CentersRed Cross officials are calling on anyone eligible - especially in places not affected by the storm - to schedule a blood donation. Set up an appointment to donate blood by calling 1-800-RED CROSS
 
 (1-800-733-2767)  or visiting http://www.redcrossblood.org/  

Feeding America 
Prepared to provide food, water and supplies to those affected by the storm.
 Donate online at FeedingAmerica.org.

AmeriCares
 
Is  on "full alert" to help out Sandy victims with supplies. Support relief effort preparations by donating through the AmeriCares.org website.

 Save the Children is asking for help as they prepare to provide relief efforts to children and families in the path of Hurricane Sandy. Donate online at SavetheChildren.org.

Unfortunately, where tragedy brings out the best in many people, it also brings out the worst in others. Readers should be warned against falling victim to Internet scammers operating under the auspices of trying to help their fellow citizens.

 Some tips to remember include: 

 

* Do not respond to any unsolicited incoming emails, including clicking on links contained within those messages.
 
* Be skeptical of individuals representing themselves as victims or officials asking for donations via e-mail or social networking sites.
 
* Verify the legitimacy of nonprofit organizations - through websites like: IRS Charity Check  or  www.guidestar.com   - rather than following a purported link to the site.
 
* Be cautious of emails that claim to show pictures of disaster areas in attached files because the files may contain viruses. Only open attachments from known senders. 
 
* Make contributions directly to known organizations rather than relying on others to make the donation on your behalf to ensure contributions are received and used for intended purposes.
 
* Do not give your personal or financial information to anyone who solicits contributions. Providing such information may compromise your identity and make you vulnerable to identity theft.