What not to donate in times of tragedy

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MOLINE-- As we watch the incredible destruction, it's only natural to want to help. Just look around our community.

"Here in the Quad Cities, people are so generous. They want to do whatever they can to help to make sure needs are being met," says American Red Cross Quad Cities Executive Director Amber Wood.

But some gifts help more than others.

"We encourage individuals to donate gifts of financial resources," says Wood.

When it comes to giving back, we're told cold hard cash is your best bet.

There's no doubt your heart is in the right place when you want to donate things like clothes and supplies, but the Red Cross says donors need to think a little further.

"It takes time to sort and clean and process and even store those gifts," says Wood.

In most cases, donating 'things' makes more work, costly work, for volunteers.

"There's also a cost savings because the product doesn't have to be shipped from our local communities," says Wood.

By giving money, the people suffering can get exactly what they need when they need it.

That's also good for those local business owners who are also trying to recover from the storm.

"It's a really important way to be able to also reinvest those dollars back into the local economies that have been hardest hit by the storms," says Wood.

So whenever you're feeling generous, give. Just give smart.

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