Millions of Americans are looking for ways to help those facing hardships and loss after hurricanes ravaged Texas and Florida.
Financial expert and nationally syndicated host Dan Celia says giving back is a wonderful way to show love and generosity, but cautions against falling prey to scammers who may take advantage of a tragic situation.
In recent weeks, Celia has heard from many listeners to his daily, three-hour call-in program, "Financial Issues," who want to know the best and most effective ways to partner with relief organizations.
Celia suggests three ministries that will not only use Christians' money wisely and honestly, but also spread the gospel while helping with recovery efforts: Texas Baptist Men, Eight Days of Hope and Samaritan's Purse.
"These three organizations are doing amazing work and are incredibly good stewards of donations, with nearly every dollar given going straight to the areas where help is needed most," Celia said. "Texas Baptist Men immediately mobilizes volunteers for boots-on-the-ground work, Eight Days of Hope is currently helping people clean up, dry out and rebuild their homes and Samaritan's Purse is one of the most respected relief and recovery organizations in the world. Christians can feel secure knowing their money will go far and will honor God through these three ministries."
Celia added that Samaritan's Purse, for instance, for which he and his wife, Yvonne, have organized many events, remained in the New Orleans area long after other groups had departed. In fact, Samaritan's Purse was still at work years after Hurricane Katrina, ensuring that every nickel designated by donors for that particular relief effort was spent in that area, Celia said.
The mission of Texas Baptist Men is to assist Texas Baptist Churches as they lead men into relationship with Jesus Christ that will thrust them and their families into a lifestyle of missions and ministry. The group has sought to serve "Anyway—Anytime—Anywhere" through a vast array of ministries, including disaster relief. Texas Baptist Men trains volunteers and coordinates efforts to provide prompt assistance and emergency support during times of disaster throughout the South. The organization has been involved in disaster relief in Texas and around the world since 1967, with the primary goal to present the gospel in a practical way by showing God's love and performing good deeds. Learn more at texasbaptistmen.org.
Eight Days of Hope (EDOH) is a Christian, non-profit organization that provides disaster relief and recovery. EDOH, formed in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina, has expanded to include a Rapid Response Ministry, Distribution Ministry and Feeding Ministry that can provide 2,000 meals per day. EDOH has served 13 communities throughout the U.S., completing roughly $30 million of work in over 2,000 homes. For the recent hurricanes, EDOH plans to implement all its equipment in partnership with local and national volunteers to clear roads, remove debris, gut houses, as well as fulfill other needs for the community. It also plans to utilize hundreds of dehumidifiers and fans to help thousands of families. For information, visit eightdaysofhope.com.
For more than 40 years, Samaritan's Purse has followed Christ's command by helping the world's poor, sick and suffering through the effective means of reaching hurting people in countries around the world with food, medicine and other assistance in the name of Jesus Christ and by sharing the gospel. For its disaster relief work, Samaritan's Purse mobilizes staff and equipment and enlists thousands of volunteers to provide emergency aid to victims of tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires, floods and other natural disasters, often staying behind after the initial response to rebuild or restore houses for needy families. Visit Samaritan's Purse sites for Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Harvey.
Celia also offers another piece of advice to Christians when giving to any cause.
"Give your money in the name of Christ, and give it to someone who will use it in the name of Christ," he said. "As believers, we have the option to give in Jesus' name to those who will share God's love along with recovery help."
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