Make your donations count

By Nikki Kimbleton - The Morning Show anchor
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Parts of the country have been rocked by flooding and tornadoes, leaving a lot of people homeless and heart broken. They've lost everything, and can't rebuild without help. We know a lot of you are wanting to reach out and donate but you need to make sure the organization getting your money is legit.

Scams and bogus organizations always pop up after a disaster. It's terrible to think that some people search for easy targets in times like these, but according to Christian Smith with the Red Cross, they definitely do.

"First and foremost, we always recommend that you pick a charity that you know," Smith said. "Go online, go to the better business bureau website and do research on the charity. Obviously, the Red Cross is reputable but read about us. See how we spend the dollars and decide where you want your money to go to."

Once you know how your money is being used, decide how you want to turn over the funds. If you're not comfortable donating online, then you shouldn't. And there are other options.

Smith suggested, "If you do donate online, make sure it's through a secured site. If you're not comfortable, if there is anything leery at all, go to the facility and drop the money off at their office."

Earlier this week, employees at Tacolu restaurant in Jacksonville Beach organized a garage sale to raise money for victims in Oklahoma. They decided to give their money to the Red Cross because they did their research and like how they distribute their funds.

"This came about when one of our other managers mentioned collecting money from the staff and I said, let's take it a bit farther. And there we go, it was a great collaboration," said Tacolu manager, Heather Anne Callaway.

Tacolu gave the money they raised specifically to the Oklahoma Relief Fund the Red Cross has organized.

Before you give to any charity, you can find out if it's a reputable organization, how they distribute their funding and more by going to

You can also check out charities and businesses with the Northeast Florida Better Business Bureau by calling (904) 721-2288 or online at

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