Local charities focus on future and immediate needs to help Harvey victims


WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The recovery after Harvey will take months and years, and volunteer organizations say they are preparing now.

“They reported this morning that donations are coming in at the rate of about a thousand ($) per minute,” says Wendy Glick, executive director of Catholic Charities of Wichita.

Glick says Catholic Charities went live with its website for giving this week. And Glick says www.catholiccharitiesusa.org will get the money where it’s needed most.

“You know, at this point in time, I’m not even sure we know what the expectations are. The key thing about Catholic Charities as it offers recovery services in times of disaster, is we’re there to do the long-term recovery. Salvation Army, American Red Cross, they tend to be the first-responders. So they come into the field and coordinate immediate disaster relief services to cover the basics, food, shelter, safety, those kinds of things,” says Glick. “And then Catholic Charities tends to come in, in a normal disaster situation if there is such a thing, and provide the long-term recovery, case management, counseling, things that are going to be issues for the communities in Southern Texas for probably years.”

While Catholic Charities coordinates those efforts, the Red Cross in Wichita continues its work in Texas, and here at home.

“Well, we still respond to home fires, right? So we have to make sure that we still have volunteer staff coordinating things that are still coordinating back at home,” says Jennifer Sanders, executive director with the American Red Cross of Wichita. “We consider a home fire a disaster, it’s a response that we do every day. That, I think, folks don’t truly understand. If a family loses everything in a fire we will be there. We have to make sure we have everything covered on the home front.”

Sanders says they are also coordinating to make sure they have logistics covered for long-term both in Texas, and in Wichita.

KSN recently hosted a telethon for the American Red Cross, and it raised thousands.

“That’s the best way to help right now, and long-term as well,” explains Glick. “The thing we know about disasters is you don’t go unless you are invited because the issues that they are dealing with have lots of victims they are dealing with first and foremost. And they don’t need strangers to come down who, out of the goodness of their heart, are going for the right reasons but may then become part of the problem. And we’ve been fielding phone calls from people who have good intentions as well, and what we really try to emphasize is what they need now is money.”

Both Glick and Sanders say you should only donate to a charity with a reputable website of an organization that has a history of helping.

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