MIAMI – After Hurricane Matthew's merciless hit in Haiti, many in South Florida want to help, but fear that their funds will be misused or stolen.
Charity Navigator, an established independent charity watchdog, released a list of high-ranking charitable organizations that have ongoing operations in Haiti.
Lindsey Struck, the watchdog organization's program analyst, is among the experts who believe independently sending items such as food, water, clothing and medical supplies to areas of need has proven inefficient.
"Even if mail reaches the impacted region, it's unlikely someone will be there to receive the goods -- much less organize and distribute them to victims," Struck said.
Instead, established charities will often partner with companies to acquire and efficiently distribute large quantities of donations, Struck said.
Using GuideStar, a service reporting on nonprofits, and asking for social media updates on your #HelpHaiti team's investment, can serve as an extra shield. Struck reminds donors to be clear about designating their investment to the efforts to help the victims of Hurricane Matthew in Haiti.
Active organizations with high ratings:
CITY OF HIALEAH FIRE DEPARTMENT: Fire stations will be accepting diapers, baby food, powdered formula and first aid supplies between the hours of 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., until Oct. 25.
The Roman Catholic Church: The Archdiocese of Miami churches were accepting donations for Haiti and Cuba. Archbishop Thomas Wenski asked all pastors to hold a special collection this weekend during mass. The Archdiocese was also accepting "disaster relief-hurricane Matthew" donations on their site. This organization is not required to file a full IRS Form 990.
The Greater Miami Jewish Federation has established a fund with all contributions going to victims of the hurricane. You can donate on their site or send checks to 4200 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami, FL 33137. The Charity Navigator's rate out of 100 is 91.72.
The United Way of Miami-Dade was working with The Miami Herald on Operation Helping Hands. They were collecting donations on the United Way site. The organization scored 84.80 out of 100 with Charity Navigator.
The Haitian Neighborhood Center Sant La, 5000 Biscayne Blvd. #110, was accepting donations for relief efforts. For more information, visit their site or call 305-573-4871. The Charity Navigator hasn't rated this organization.
The Man Dodo Humanitarian Foundation needs volunteers for their "We Stand With Haiti" campaign, as they accept donations at 3333 N.W. 168 Street in Miami Gardens. They also welcome donations on their site. This organization is not required to file a full IRS Form 990.
The Haitian American Leadership Organization was collecting non-perishable goods such as canned food, dry beans and peanut butter. They also want baby items, toiletries, medical supplies and mosquito repellant. The Charity Navigator hasn't rated this organization.
They have two drop-off locations in Broward County and four in Miami-Dade County.
- RJM Purchasing and Distribution, 10900 NW 21st St., in Doral
- Sunshine Pain Management Medical Center, 900 NE 125th St., in North Miami
- Dr. Joeele Balmir, 10621 N. Kendall Dr. in South Miami-Dade
- Maximum Wireless, 18250 NW 2nd Ave., in Miami
- Boca Women Health, 1601 Clint Moore Rd., in Boca Raton
- Tano Laundry, 6890 Miramar Parkway, in Miramar
FOCUS ON FOOD
Food for the Poor based out of Coconut Creek was collecting donations on their site. The organization scored 86.36 out of 100 with Charity Navigator. The organization is also collecting donations at boxes distributed to restaurants in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea.
FOCUS ON HEALTH CARE
Project Medishare, a nonprofit in Miami providing community health services since 1994, was asking for donations on their site. Charity Navigator hasn't rated this organization but was accepting votes.
FOCUS ON CHILDREN
USAID on monetary contributions over household items