After Hurricane Katrina, we got lots of emails everyday from folks looking to host a displaced family. While I commend their generosity (at least those who didn't include stipulations such as the victims needed to serve as a nanny or do housework) I worry about the practicality of the idea. How do you know the person is truly a victim? How do you know that they’ll honor your generosity and not steal or hurt you?
Post Hurricane Sandy, I’m seeing the same response. Caring Americans are offering to take in victims.
I would encourage those who have such inspiration in their hearts to instead consider a donation to a charity providing food, shelter and other basic needs – such as the American Red Cross. They've opened a shelter down the road from me, so I've been able to see firsthand how they’re helping. And, if you want to host someone because you don’t have the financial means to give a donation, you can donate blood to the Red Cross or, if you are in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, consider directly helping out a neighbor in need.