Here's How You Can Be The Most Helpful When Donating To People In Need

06/11/2015 03:32 pm ET | Updated Jun 11, 2015
Birgit Reitz-Hofmann

Giving back is important, but all those canned pineapples and piles of forgotten T-shirts aren't really doing the trick.

Take Hurricane Sandy as an example: When the superstorm hit the northeastern United States in October 2012, clothing donations flooded into relief areas across the region. Only, clothing wasn't what people needed in the storm's aftermath. Sandy survivors needed flashlights, batteries, supplies to stay warm — not old high school T-shirts donors found in the backs of their closets. Much of the donated clothing was tossed aside to give more attention to the donations people could actually use.

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