Hurricane Ian: How you can help Florida residents affected by the storm

Here’s how you can help Florida residents affected by Hurricane Ian, which made landfall Wednesday afternoon on the southwest coast of the Sunshine State:.

>> RELATED: Hurricane Ian: Category 4 storm makes landfall on southwestern coast of Florida (live updates)

The Miami Valley Chapter of the Red Cross: You can donate money through the agency, one of several that has volunteers in Florida, some of whom are from the Dayton area.

“Those volunteers are now in a hold pattern waiting for landfall to go by so that they can start interacting with those affected,” said Lynne Gump, executive director for the Red Cross in the Miami Valley.

>> RELATED: Ohio Task Force 1 heads toward Florida for Hurricane Ian response

Gump told News Center 7 the best way to help hurricane victims is by donating money.

“Because we can use it immediately. We can use it where it’s needed most. And some of our― most of our supplies are already pre-positioned as close as we can get to landfall. So cots are already there, blankets are already there, comfort kits are already there, we’re already serving meals in Florida. So donations help offset those costs as well,” Gump said.

“There’s some 15,000 to 16,000 people who are in Red Cross or partner shelters,” Gump said.

Here are some other organizations offering ways to help:

Bill’s Donuts in Centerville: The business often hosts disaster relief donation drives. Owner Lisa Tucker told News Center 7 the top five items they usually need when they host disaster relief drives are socks and underwear, bleach, buckets and work gloves. Bill’s Donuts is not currently taking donations.

Epiphany Lutheran Church will be collecting money at the Centerville Fall Fest, which is Sunday, Oct. 2, from 2 to 5 p.m. The church said 100% of the money collected will go directly toward hurricane relief. Fall Fest in Centerville will feature family friendly activities, including hayrides, balloon art and inflatables. There will also be a petting zoo and 75 vendors selling arts and crafts.

If you are planning to donate money to disaster relief, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) offers these tips you can use to protect yourself:

  • Give to known charities that have a positive track record of doing this kind of emergency work.

  • Scammers may come up with look-a-like name to fool you into thinking they are a real organization.

  • Be wary of people going door-to-door saying they are raising funds for the effort. Even if intentions are good, it may not get where you want your money to go.

  • Always check out charities online and with the BBB.