Red Cross donations hit $117 million for Sandy relief

November 9, 2012: 6:24 PM ET
red cross meals relief
The Red Cross has delivered more than 3.5 million meals and snacks to people in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney)

The American Red Cross continues to see an outpouring of donations in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.

The relief agency has raised $117 million as of Friday morning, up from $103 million on Wednesday.

Between Monday and Wednesday this week, donations rose from $85 million to $103 million, thanks in large part to the "Day of Giving" fundraiser hosted by ABC on Monday, which brought in almost $17 million for the Red Cross.

An NBC telethon and benefit concert held on Friday featuring Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi, Christina Aguilera, Jon Stewart and Jimmy Fallon raised another $23 million.

Companies that have pledged $1 million or more to the Red Cross and other nonprofit aid organizations include JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Walt Disney (DIS), News Corp (NWS), Kohl's (KSS), Morgan Stanley (MS), Mercedes-Benz USA, and Enterprise Holdings Foundation.

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Overall, businesses have announced donations totaling $101 million, according to the Chamber of Commerce's Corporate Aid Tracker.

Instead of giving cash, Walmart (WMT) donated 60 pallets of food and drinks, more than 2,000 board games and nearly 6,000 cases of cleaning supplies to people in New York State who were impacted by the storm, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Sunday.

Superstorm leaves trail of damage

PepsiCo (PEP) delivered more than 100,000 cases of drinks and snacks to New York state, and said it will donate an additional 22 truck loads of supplies within the next week.

With the money it receives, the Red Cross is operating shelters and offering food, water and relief supplies to areas struck hard by Sandy. The agency has set up 472 shelters to date in more than 10 states, providing 66,500 overnight stays to storm victims since the hurricane hit. It has delivered more than 3.5 million meals and snacks and has handed out more than 176,900 relief items, including hygiene kits, clean-up kits, shovels and rakes.

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The $117 million that the Red Cross has raised beats the $8 million raised over the entire recovery period for Hurricane Isaac, which struck the Gulf Coast earlier this year, according to Neal Litvack, chief development officer at the Red Cross. It's also much more than the $14 million raised in the wake of 2011's Hurricane Irene.

Hurricane Katrina is the only U.S. natural disaster that has garnered more support, with the Red Cross raising $2.2 billion for relief efforts in its wake.

Donations for Sandy are still well behind the funds raised during international disasters like the earthquake and tsunami that rocked Japan last year and the earthquake that struck Haiti in 2010. During the entire recovery periods for those events, the Red Cross raised a total of about $302 million for Japan, and $475 million for Haiti.

Among the other nonprofit organizations raising money for relief efforts, the Salvation Army has received about $5 million in donations made online, by phone and by mail. Feeding America has brought in $1.2 million in financial contributions and more than 4 million pounds of food, which it said will go to food banks in impacted areas. The United Way of New York City has raised $3 million, New York Cares has received donations of $700,000, while the AARP Foundation has brought in contributions of $541,469, according to a fundraising survey conducted by the Chronicle of Philanthropy late Thursday.

How to help

If you'd like to donate to the Red Cross online, go to www.redcross.org. You can also mail a check to: the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, D.C., 20013. To donate by phone, call 1-800-RED-CROSS or give up to $10 by texting the word "REDCROSS" to 90999.

Visit CNN's Impact Your World for more information about the best ways to help hurricane victims, as well as how to volunteer for cleanup efforts.

The IRS also announced incentives for companies that let employees exchange vacation days, sick days or personal leave for cash payments that are given to qualifying tax-exempt organizations involved in Hurricane Sandy relief. Companies that adopt a leave-donation program like this are allowed to claim the cash payments as charitable deductions, and the amount of money donated won't be considered part of an employee's income or wages for tax purposes.

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