As Hurricane Florence crawls ashore over the next 100 hundred hours we're all solemnly awaiting the damage reports. Having been through a few dozen of these big storms right here along with various spring and summer thunderstorm deluges, we're very empathetic to what those souls along the coast and inland in North and South Carolina are going through right about now.

All reports were indicating millions were able to get away from the coast, a smart move and we know a few hard heads will stay and not give up their homes, best of luck to them.

Whether they stayed or evacuated, we know starting as soon as the skies clear up their lives will never be the same again and from thenceforward the new normal for them will commence.

Louisiana knows the utter pain of hurricanes and the indiscriminate destruction a flood brings and the hard labor starting over costs. The hazmat rich, high fecal content waters (septic tanks overflow really fast in a flood) destroying whatever they touch, followed by smelly mold and prized possessions of a lifetime piled high by the street with your rolled up carpeting. Louisiana knows disaster.

But in our empathy and eagerness to help, let's don't get caught up in phone scams or other donation ripoffs and sadly there will be some. You know it.

Joe Raedle, Getty Images

Helping Those Left In The Remnants of Hurricane Florence

In the early stages at least, over this weekend stick with the basic tried and true help organizations such as The Salvation Army. It has been my experience following Rita, Ike, and Harvey, TSA is one of the first in with hot food even beating the US Military Army to my area just west of the Sabine River, after Harvey.

After Rita, our family routinely dined on the Salvation Army bill of fare, favoring the hot dogs the best. In those early days after a day of chainsaw operations and other temporary hard labor cleanup hardship, SA hotdogs along about 6 pm were a wonderfully received and graciously welcomed treat. They also sent food baskets home, offered blankets, bottled water, tarps and so on.

The Salvation Army website is here, you can donate money helping fund their response. If you have friends, family in those areas they can apply for assistance at that site as well.

The Red Cross is internationally famous for response and is renowned for disaster response as well as their blood collecting operations. The website to donate to the Hurricane Florence recovery is here. As well, those in the disaster zones can apply for assistance at the website. After Harvey, the site became overwhelmed and unresponsive sometimes for days at a time. The RC had said this was fixed, but the sooner one applies the sooner one receives help it seems.

The Red Cross can provide families with immediate cash deposits into their bank accounts from $300 and up toward $2000 to qualified victims. In some cases, this is the difference for some of being able to immediately put down a deposit on a temporary apartment or pay the rent at a motel in another city, food, fuel, shelter, personal hygiene items and so on.

Local Churches and Charitable Organizations

There will also be a few local organizations stepping up and filling 18-wheeler trailers full of clothing, food, school supplies, shoes, small appliances, gently used furniture and so on. Remember essential items too such as laundry detergent, diapers, and wipes, formula and the other nitty-gritty whatnot nicknack daily essentials of daily life, as you bring items to fill up the trucks.

Again, let common sense prevail, do not make cash contributions to door to door knockers, don't give callers your personal information or credit card numbers, tell them you gave to one of the organizations here, or your local church, be leery of emails, etc., and do give through your churches relief effort, or other trustworthy local civic organization.

We know you're gonna pitch in what you can, it's in our nature. Be sure it goes to where you want it, Salvation Army, Red Cross, your church or local entity you know you can trust. That's All.