What -- and What Not -- to Donate to Relief Efforts

By Kellie Bartoli

Published 11/18 2013 05:39PM

Updated 11/18 2013 10:12PM

Sunday's storm aftermath isn't all about damage though. Local relief is already starting to pour in to help communities rebuild.

Right now, a lot of the attention is on Washington, Illinois because of the deaths and extensive damage there, and here in Indiana, experts say the biggest need is around Kokomo.

One of the most important things to donate is large plastic totes, along with safety gear like masks and gloves.

First Impressions Screen Printing in Clinton has offered its location as a disaster relief drop-off.

You can bring donations there Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., now through November 29. It's located 280 North 9th Street.

A local 4H group will then deliver the items to Washington, Illinois.

Experts say your generosity needs to be in the right place, or else it just makes more work for the affected.

Here are the ten worst things to donate in a disaster.

Avoid giving:

- Used clothing

- Shoes

- Blankets

- All medication

- Mixed donations. That slows down volunteers trying to sort through donated items. Make sure what is give is clearly marked and labeled.
- Teddy bears

- Bottled water and canned food in small amounts. Try to buy in bulk.

- Pet supplies. Instead donate to the Red Star Animal Emergency Services, the official animal welfare partner of the Red Cross.

- Unsolicited help. Clean-up is complex work, so go through an official agency that knows where the need is and how to organize your volunteer efforts.

- Giving money to the wrong people or scammers. Make sure you know and trust the group or agency you are donating money to.

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