11780 San Pablo Ave., El Cerrito CA 94530 510-231-8686 
eUpdate - October 24, 2017

Tips for helping disaster victims 
From the North Bay to Puerto Rico to Mexico, how to help
We've had an extraordinary succession of disasters and emergencies the past several months, from the hurricanes, to the Las Vegas shooting, to the Mexican earthquake, to the devastating fires in the North Bay--very close to home.

Our deepest sympathies to all of those affected. It's hard to grasp the suffering these situations have caused. We've also seen the amazing resilience of communities after tragedy, and the heroes helping on the frontline as well as more quietly behind the scenes.

Many of us are doing what we can to help, or still looking for ways. Rebuilding after disaster and recuperating from loss take time. 

Some wanting to help don't have a lot of money; some don't have extra time, and others don't have much of either. 

It's nice to know that even small donations or acts of kindness can help. However you're able to give , it's important to carefully research the best ways to do this, to make sure you're helping a legitimate effort and really reaching people with the greatest needs. 

Sadly, as we know, fraudulent and unethical groups can pop-up after disasters claiming to help victims but preying on the misfortune of others. 

Below is a list of links to sound, researched information on helping after disasters, including those that that we've experienced in recent months. This is a partial list. You may have good sources, too. 

Do's and don'ts of helping after a disaster -San Angelo Standard Times 

Charity Navigatorrates and evaluates charities on their financial health, accountability, transparency. Online tool.

Guidestar,  gathers and disseminates information about nonprofits in easy to understand language. Online tool.

Wise Giving Alliance - Better Business Bureau,  helps donors make informed giving decisions and promotes high standards of conduct among organizations that solicit contributions from the public. Online tool.

National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters, has a handy "How to Help" tool for people wanting to join a volunteer effort.

For those wanting to help our North Bay neighbors specifically, SFGate recently compiled a great guide, with lots of local information. Remember, these needs are constantly changing, so it's important to call or email to ask for updates.

I'm proud to live in a region and country that pulls out the stops to help people in need, time and time again. 

Thanks to all. 
John Gioia
Supervisor, District One 
Contra Costa County 
11780 San Pablo Avenue, Suite D 
El Cerrito, CA  94530 
510-231-8686 Phone