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ON YOUR SIDE: Better Business Bureau warns donors to check charities in light of Beirut explosion

Published: Aug. 14, 2020 at 4:18 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Tuesday marked one week since thousands of tons of ammonium nitrate exploded in Beirut’s port. The devastation from that blast is just starting to set in.

People from all over the world, and the Ozarks, want to help.

”We all know people from Springfield, the Ozarks, the surrounding communities, they really care,” said Stephanie Garland with the Better Business Bureau in Springfield. “Whenever they see a disaster that happens, they feel very deeply that they need to help.”

Garland said the BBB wants to make as much of your money donated actually gets to the charity.

”Look for seven to 12 cents on the dollar that the charities actually keep for the fundraising and administrative costs,” Garland noted.

She said several years ago, there was a charity in Springfield that was keeping 99 cents for every dollar donated.

”88 cents on the dollar, at least, should be going to what the charity say it’s going to go to,” Garland said.

The BBB also wants donors to make sure the charity they’re donating to is set up to help in the affected area - in this case Beirut.

”See if the charity already has staff in these impacted areas, because otherwise it might be really hard right now during this disaster to get new aid workers into the area to provide assistance," Garland said.

Clothing, food, and other material donations might not be appropriate for those same reasons.

Garland warn against using crowdfunding sites like GoFundMe.

”A lot of times there could be scammers behind GoFundMe, there could be great people with kind intentions who don’t have boots on the ground overseas and don’t know who to send the money to,” Garland said.

Garland said the best way to check a charity, is by going to BBB.org, or giving them a call.

”It’s very important that if somebody is going to be donating, that they’re donating to an organization that is reputable and that is legitimate,” Garland added.

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