If you are as horrified by the destruction of Gaza as we are, you probably want to help by donating to relief efforts. Here are the three most important things to remember when you donate to humanitarian relief in Gaza.
- Donate to a reputable charity or aid group that has a history in Gaza and strong relationships with United Nations agencies such as the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) or the World Food Program (WFP).But how do you know if an organization is reputable? Look for stories and photos about past work in Gaza on their websites, and look them up using a guide such as Charity Navigator or Great NonProfits. The organization should be registered as a 501(c)(3) and be highly rated by entities that evaluate non-profits.
- Send money, not goods. Why not package your gently-used clothes, or fill boxes with canned goods to send over? The most useful form of aid you can give is the one that is the most lightweight, easy to transport and can be used to meet a wide variety of needs: money.
Money can be converted into whatever is needed on the ground at the time. For example, WFP may be providing food and water, but families with babies and young children may not have a way to get diapers or blankets. Aid organizations on the ground can respond to changing needs quickly if they have the funds on hand.
- Resist the temptation to donate on impulse to organizations you have never heard of. Although your heart is breaking for our brothers and sisters in Gaza, it is best not to put your change into a coffee can that is labeled “Gaza Relief” at a stop light or grocery store checkout counter. You have no way to verify if that money is truly going to Gaza.
May God reward your generosity and willingness to open your heart and your wallet for those who have been wounded, displaced, orphaned and widowed in Gaza. To make the biggest difference, sending money to an established charity or NGO is the most useful way to help.