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How New Mexicans can help Harvey victims

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — As the tropical storm Harvey continues to flood Houston, leaving thousands seeking shelter and services, businesses and organizations in New Mexico are offering to help. Follow the list below to learn more:

St. Felix Pantry

St. Felix Pantry is looking for volunteers to sort through clothing that will be sent to Houston-area residents impacted by Hurricane Harvey. The Rio Rancho-based pantry that serves that city, Albuquerque and Sandoval County has teamed up with the Boys and Girls Club of Central New Mexico to sort and pack clothing.

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As part of the effort, St. Felix is in need of volunteers to sort through the clothing and prepare it for shipping . Sorting and repackaging will be done at the Boys & Girls Club in Rio Rancho, 4600 Sundt Road NE, on Saturday, Sept. 2, starting at 9 a.m. Anyone interested in helping should Manuel Casias at 270-1366 or email at mcasias@stfelixpantry.org.

MCM Elegante Hotel

The MCM Elegante Hotel in Albuquerque  has set up a collection box in in the lobby so  anyone interested in donating to the victims of Hurricane Harvey can just drop by. The hotel is trying to collect money, canned food, clothes, toiletries and blankets at the moment. All items will be delivered to the American Red Cross in Texas. The hotel is located 2020 Menaul Blvd NE.

Pizza 9

All Pizza 9 locations will be hosting an emergency supplies drive through Labor Day to assist the victims of  Hurricane Harvey in Texas. People are asked to drop off nonperishable items and necessities, including cereal, canned fruit, fruit cups, peanut butter, water bottles, baby food, toothpaste, shampoo, soap, and other personal hygiene items. For more information call 505-764-3780.

Bernalillo County

Bernalillo County is partnering with Roadrunner Food Bank to provide assistance and relief to the thousands affected by Hurricane Harvey. The public can participate in the donation drive that will run through the entire month of September.

Among the most needed items are hand-held snacks (granola bars, crackers, pretzels); ready-to-eat items (beef jerky, trail mix, dried fruit, boxed cereal); shelf-stable pantry items (peanut butter, canned foods, and can openers); bottled water; cleaning supplies (bleach, non-bleach, paper towels, etc.); personal hygiene items (toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, etc.). Clothing is not being accepted at this time.

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Go to www.BernCo.gov/Harvey for more information about the donation drive, including drop-off locations and times, as well as updates on most needed items.

Go to www.rrfb.org to find additional details about donating funds directly to the food banks impacted by the disaster.

The community can also reach the BernCo information hotline at 468-7777 Monday-Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., or email at ContactCenter@bernco.gov.

Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo customers can now donate to the American Red Cross at any of the 91 Wells Fargo branches in New Mexico and any of the company’s 165 ATM machines around the state. There is no fee for using the service, and 100 percent of the donations will go directly to the Red Cross. Wells Fargo has also committed $1 million to support those affected by Hurricane Harvey, with $500,000 to the Red Cross and another $500,000 to local Texas nonprofits focused on recovery and relief efforts in Texas.

Albertsons Market
Cashiers at Albertsons will be encouraging shoppers to add a dollar to their purchases, which will then be donated to the Red Cross. Donations will be matched up to $10,000, according to a news release from Albertsons. The donation period runs through Sept. 11, and stores in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Rio Rancho, Los Lunas and Taos are participating.

Archdiocese of Santa Fe and Catholic Charities of New Mexico
The Archdiocese and Catholic Charities are teaming up and asking for funds that will be sent to Catholic Charities branches in Texas and Louisiana to house victims. Donations can be made here.

PurLife Medical Cannabis

A medical cannabis company is collection donations at its two Albuquerque locations. Donations will then be forwarded on to the Red Cross. Donation boxes have been set up at PurLife’s dispensaries near Montgomery and Eubank and Carlisle and Menaul.

The Food Depot
Northern New Mexico’s food bank, located on Siler Road in Santa Fe, is asking for donations that will be sent to sister food banks in Texas. They are asking for:
• Hand-held snack items such as granola bars
• Pop-top ready-to-eat items
• Shelf-stable pantry items such as peanut butter, tuna and soup
• Bottled water
• Cleaning supplies (bleach, non-bleach, paper towels, etc.)
• Personal hygiene items (toothbrushes, toothpaste, etc.)
• No furniture, clothing or toys (new or used) will be accepted!
Monetary donations can be made here.

Know of more local fundraising efforts? Email web@abqjournal.com.

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NATIONAL EFFORTS
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GIVE TO ESTABLISHED RELIEF AGENCIES
GuideStar’s website has a database that lets you vet charities . You can find information on a charity’s expenses, assets and revenue, as well as its programs.
Stacy Palmer, editor of The Chronicle of Philanthropy, also suggests looking at a charity’s website for information on how it will use donations. And look through local news reports for information on a charity’s work, or contact the local United Way and the local Community Foundation — in this case Houston’s.
It’s up to you whether to go with a local charity that might know the area better, or a national charity that has wider reach. Palmer says “both kinds of organizations have their place right now.”
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TEXTING TO GIVE?
It might be tempting to make a donation through text and have the phone company charge it on your phone bill. It’s easy, and it might feel as though it’s the quickest way to get money to a charity.
But Palmer says that’s not the case, as charities have to wait for the phone companies to release the money.
The quickest way to give is to go to the charity’s website and donate directly, using a credit or debit card. That said, relief agencies will need money beyond first few days or even weeks, so if the ease of text donations appeals to you, tap away. To donate $10 to the Red Cross via text, send a text message saying “REDCROSS” to the number 90999.
Apple users in the U.S. can also donate to the American Red Cross through the company’s iTunes and app stores. Amounts range from $5 to $200, and you can’t use store credit.
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TIMING
Donations often pour in immediately after disaster strikes but peter out during the long recovery process. While there are a lot of immediate needs, Palmer says, “charities are going to need support on the long haul.”
Consider saving some of your money so you can donate again in a few weeks or months. Better yet, set up a recurring donation to support your chosen charity over time.
Some charities will say when they have raised enough for a particular disaster and use any extra money for their general fund, Palmer says. This isn’t bad.
“One of the things this disaster shows is that it’s important to have resilience,” she says. “It’s smart to just give and say that it can be used wherever it’s most needed.”
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CROWDFUNDING
Group fundraising services such as GoFundMe let people raise money for friends, families, neighbors or themselves — as well as for charity. As always, do your homework before giving to a stranger or cause online.
GoFundMe has a special page for Hurricane Harvey pleas for charities, individuals and families. GlobalGiving, a crowdfunding site for charities, is trying to raise $2 million for local relief and recovery efforts.
Remember that donations are tax-deductible only if they go to a registered non-profit or charity. Otherwise, they are generally considered gifts.
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HOLD OFF ON MATERIAL DONATIONS
Donating food, clothing and household items can complicate and even hinder relief efforts, experts say. After Superstorm Sandy in 2012, for example, reports cited relief agencies not knowing what to do with the piles of clothing and other unsolicited items pouring in.
The U.S. Center for Disaster Information says such donations “require transportation — which is expensive and logistically complicated — and a pre-identified recipient on the ground who will receive the shipment, pay customs and other fees, sort and distribute the items.”
Unsolicited goods, the agency says , are “never required in early stages of response, and they compete with priority relief items for transportation and storage.”
It doesn’t mean there will never be a time or place for such donations — check with relief agencies as time passes.
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CONSIDER SPECIAL NEEDS
Seniors, the disabled, children and even pets are particularly vulnerable during disasters. Consider donating to charities that focus on their needs.
The Texas Diaper Bank , for example, says diapers (whether for babies or adults) are not provided by disaster relief agencies. Again, these charities need money — not boxes of diapers you picked up at Costco.
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CHECK OUT MATCHES
Facebook says it will match every dollar raised through its service, up to $1 million, for the Center for Disaster Philanthropy’s Hurricane Harvey Recovery Fund. The money will support local recovery and rebuilding efforts. U.S. Facebook users are getting a message at the top of their news feed on how to donate.
Google, meanwhile, is matching $1 million in donations to the American Red Cross. To donate, go to http://www.google.org/harvey-relief . The company also matched donations from employees and said Tuesday it donated $750,000 between its nonprofit arm, Google.org, and employee contributions to organizations such as the American Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity and Save the Children.

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