Local Reaction About the Redistributed Sandy Donations
The redistribution of some of the money collected by the allegedly bogus Superstorm Sandy Relief Fund to legitimate charities, couldn't have come at a better time for the Food Bank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties. The foodbank has received a total of $75-thousand dollars since April under less than ideal circumstances.
"So it's ashame the way that it came to be but I feel very happy that the checks, thebalances, that are in place, they worked," said Food Bank Executive Director Carlos Rodriguez. "The money is re-routed to where donors wanted it to go in the first place."
Rodriguez said they're receiving the funds just as schools are getting read to let children out for summer recess and parents will have to provide additional meals. However, that dwarfs the additional 4,000 families they've taken on as a result of Superstorm Sandy.
"You know, we'll be spending no less than half a million dollars to make sure that we bring in food and get it to the hands of families that were directly impacted by sandy," said Rodriguez. "Before the storm, we were already serving 127,000 people."
According a press released from Acting State Attorney General John J. Hoffman, they wanted to insure the $325,000 collected by the now defunct allegedly fraudulent charity the Hurricane Sandy Relief Foundation (HSRF), went specifically to legitimate Sandy relief efforts.
"Habitat for Humanity of Monmouth County will receive $75,000. The funds will be used to construct homes for three low- to moderate-income families, one in Sea Bright and two in Union Beach, whose homes were destroyed by Superstorm Sandy."
"We are bringing closure to the many well-intentioned and generous donors who gave to this allegedly fraudulent charity, and bringing genuine relief to low-income families whose homes were damaged or destroyed by Sandy," Hoffman said.
Advice for Consumers:
The Division of Consumer Affairs encourages New Jersey consumers to learn as much as possible about any charity before deciding to make a donation. Consumers should:
- Find out whether the charity is registered in New Jersey, or is exempt from having to register. (Certain religious and educational organizations, and charities whose annual income includes less than $10,000 in public contributions and fundraising, are exempt from having to register with the State.)
- Find out how much the charity spent during recent fiscal years on program costs, management costs, and fundraising.
- Learn about the charity's stated mission.
Consumers may obtain information about a charity in several ways. They can ask the charity itself (reputable charities encourage you to do so), or visit the charity's website.
Consumers can also obtain this information from the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs. Visit the Division's Charities Registration page; call the Division's Charities Hotline at 973-504-6215 during regular business hours; or use the Division's free "New Jersey Charity Search" smartphone app.