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Show ’em the Money

After a natural disaster or other tragedy, donate money rather than things to provide the most assistance.

Volunteers+carry+boxes+of+tarps+to+hurricane+victims+Tuesday%2C+Sept.+18%2C+2018+in+Wilmington%2C+N.C.+New+Hanover+County%2C+in+partnership+with+FEMA%2C+the+Civil+Air+Patrol+and+volunteers+from+General+Electric%2C+gave+out+free+water%2C+tarps+and+the+Meals+Ready+to+Eat+to+county+residents+at+three+locations+in+Wilmington.+%28Chuck+Liddy%2FRaleigh+News+%26amp%3B+Observer%2FTNS%29
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Show ’em the Money

Volunteers carry boxes of tarps to hurricane victims Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018 in Wilmington, N.C. New Hanover County, in partnership with FEMA, the Civil Air Patrol and volunteers from General Electric, gave out free water, tarps and the Meals Ready to Eat to county residents at three locations in Wilmington. (Chuck Liddy/Raleigh News & Observer/TNS)

Volunteers carry boxes of tarps to hurricane victims Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018 in Wilmington, N.C. New Hanover County, in partnership with FEMA, the Civil Air Patrol and volunteers from General Electric, gave out free water, tarps and the Meals Ready to Eat to county residents at three locations in Wilmington. (Chuck Liddy/Raleigh News & Observer/TNS)

TNS

Volunteers carry boxes of tarps to hurricane victims Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018 in Wilmington, N.C. New Hanover County, in partnership with FEMA, the Civil Air Patrol and volunteers from General Electric, gave out free water, tarps and the Meals Ready to Eat to county residents at three locations in Wilmington. (Chuck Liddy/Raleigh News & Observer/TNS)

TNS

TNS

Volunteers carry boxes of tarps to hurricane victims Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018 in Wilmington, N.C. New Hanover County, in partnership with FEMA, the Civil Air Patrol and volunteers from General Electric, gave out free water, tarps and the Meals Ready to Eat to county residents at three locations in Wilmington. (Chuck Liddy/Raleigh News & Observer/TNS)

Taylor Pitzl, Web Editor-in-Chief

Palettes of teddy bears, toys and other stuffed animals stacked eight feet tall covered a storage space nearly an acre and a half wide. After the tragic Newton school shooting, people from across the world were compelled to send comforting items to the town. Years later, the surplus was still draining space and resources, according to NPR.

After a tragedy, like the recent Hurricane Florence, many people have an urge to gather up blankets, clothes and other material items and send them off to the afflicted area. However, this often causes more harm than good. Instead of donating material goods, people should give monetary donations. Material donations often cause unnecessary surpluses, don’t cover all needed items and are less effective than monetary donations.

Like what happened in Newton, well-wished material items often end up causing more harm than good. According to an article from The Conversation, donated goods raise the cost of rescue and response efforts. The excess goods waste expensive storage space and are difficult to organize and distribute. Volunteers or trained employees become tied up dealing with the donations, taking them from doing more important work.     

Despite the surplus of donations, there are often needs that aren’t met. Medical supplies, hygiene products and other essential items are often overlooked by donors. The flexibility of money makes it a much better option since the organization itself can decide the most needed items and appropriate money to that division.

Donating money is more effective than material goods. Monetary donations can be delivered and put to use even if roads or shipping channels are shut down due to the disaster. The donations can be put to use hiring skilled workers, such as counselors, fund rebuilding efforts, or whatever else the organization requires.

Instead of donating used items from around the house, hold a garage sale and donate the proceeds to relief efforts. Alternatively, donate these unwanted items to a thrift store such as Goodwill, and use the expected tax break to donate. Don’t go out and buy donations as money will do far more good. If worried the money will go to waste, only donate material items if specifically requested by the organization, and even then, carefully consider if money is the better option.

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Taylor Pitzl, Web Editor-in-Chief

Favorite Show: The Office

Spirit Animal: Dolphin

Guilty Pleasure: Chocolate

Pet Peeve: People driving below the speed limit

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