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    Consider donating, helping hurricane victims in lieu of buying holiday gifts this season

    By Chaffin Mitchell, AccuWeather staff writer

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    There isn't a better time to donate your time and money than during the holidays, a season for giving.

    It's not too late to assist the victims of hurricanes Irma, Harvey and Maria, as there are many still in need of help. Instead of giving presents to loved ones or asking for presents, give to those left in need in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

    Charity Navigator and CharityWatch have lists of dozens of highly rated charities able and ready to assist with the help of your donations.

    Family donating gifts and toys to charity for Christmas holiday

    If you would like to offer your time by volunteering, know that manual labor is not the only support needed. Volunteers are able to help with communications, medical needs, human services, damage assessment and labor support.

    However, if you aren't close enough to volunteer, you are in luck because monetary donations are the most flexible and can be used immediately in response to a crisis. It allows an organization to purchase exactly what is needed, when it is needed.

    When items are donated, volunteers have to divert their attention to separating, distributing and storing. Not only does it help the ones you are donating to, but you can keep the receipts of monetary donations to have a record at the end of the year for tax purposes.

    To get an idea of how far donations go, AccuWeather spoke with Direct Relief, the number one charity on Charity Navigator’s list of “10 of the Best Charities Everyone’s Heard of."

    "As a privately funded charitable organization, Direct Relief’s work -- and every person whose life is saved or health is improved as a result of it -- stems from acts of personal generosity that are purely voluntary," Direct Relief spokesperson Tony Morain said.

    Direct Relief was able to have a massive response to the catastrophic hurricane season that hit the United States and the Caribbean. They deliver life-saving medical aid to people and communities in need, both in the U.S. and throughout the world.

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    "To help care for people affected by Hurricane Harvey in Texas, Direct Relief provided more than 70,000 pounds of critically needed medicines, medical equipment, antiseptics and disinfectants, and personal hygiene products," Morain said.

    Since January 2017, Direct Relief has delivered more than $850 million of donated prescription medications, vaccines and other medical supplies to help disadvantaged people in 94 countries and 53 U.S. states and territories.

    "Since Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico in September, Direct Relief has sent more than $25 million worth of specifically-requested medicines and medical supplies to healthcare providers there," Morain said.

    Below is a list of charities helping the 2017 hurricane season victims. Also check charity websites such as Charity Navigator and CharityWatch to find more charities to consider.

    United Way
    Direct Relief
    World Hope International
    Team Rubicon, a veteran-led disaster response team
    The American Red Cross
    Go Fund Me
    Star of Hope Mission
    Hope for Haiti
    Samaritan’s Purse

    Donations 2017 Hurricane Season 2.png

    Help AccuWeather raise donations for hurricane victims via United Way.

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