Gulfport organizations advise how to donate to Sally relief efforts wisely

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GULFPORT, Miss. (WJTV) — Organizations like the Red Cross and Salvation Army receive thousands of heartfelt material donations every year, but many of them are wasted and create additional burden to an already stressful situation.

The Southeast Mississippi Red Cross Director John McFarland explained the right way to do it, and it may be the easiest.

“The main one is a financial contribution,” McFarland said. “People are being sheltered, people are being fed and they will continue to be taken care of.”

A financial contribution may not feel as personal, but it will go much farther.

Major Bradley Caldwell with the Gulf Coast Salvation Army agrees.

He said that between every disaster, there’s just too many differences for there to be a standard donation template.

“People want to help but it’s not always clear what is helpful,” Caldwell said. “So they have an idea that people are destitute and need whatever we can hand them, and that’s not always the case.”

Both McFarland and Caldwell agree that there definitely is a time and place to donate material items, but they urge people to reach out to their local organizations first to confirm what those items are so as not to create a mound of unnecessary donations to be sorted.

“We’ve been helping these people since yesterday,” McFarland said. “[We] will be for some time and it doesn’t come cheap.”

“We have to be able to give people what they need,” Caldwell said. “Not just what we have on hand.”

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