Austin Brock holds a cat named Tutti after the animal was rescued from the rubble of Brock's home after a tornado destroyed the neighborhood May 21 in Moore, Okla. Brennan Linsley, AP
GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- Many people want to know how they can assist the storm victims in Oklahoma. But there are many scams that target that goodwill.
The biggest way you can help right now is by donating money to charitable organizations, but the Better Business Bureau is already warning of inevitable scams and frauds.
The BBB recommends you take an extra effort to make sure your donation is going to a legitimate charity. Here's some of their top tips:
- Be cautious about online giving, especially in response to spam emails and social media posts that claim to link to an organization. If you want to give, go directly to the charity's website.
- Be cautious when relying on third-party recommendations such as bloggers.
- Don't trust claims that 100 percent of donations will assist relief victims.
- Find out if the charity has an on-the-ground presence in the impacted areas.
- Find out if the charity is providing direct aid or raising money for other groups.
If you want a stress-free way to give, the BBB has a list of charities to "text to give" to. http://www.mobilegiving.org/
Many of you also want to know how you can help the families who have lost everything in Oklahoma. Habitat for Humanity is one of the first places people look to when they see a town like Moore flattened.
But Habitat for Humanity of Kent County Executive Director Mary Buikema says the area has to be assessed before volunteers are asked to come down. She says the number one way you can help now is with your checkbook.
"Immediate help comes in the form of financial support because then we can engage people to actually buy materials and get down there and get this work started. Getting people to come in and do this work is kind of second," says Buikema.
Habitat for Humanity of Kent County already has information on how to donate to Oklahoma tornado victims (http://bit.ly/14uHgu3)
They will post information when they need volunteers. You can also call (616) 774-2431 to donate.