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KSDK – In case you are planning on donating to help recent tornado victims, be sure to do your homework.

Some groups – like the Salvation Army – take a more long-term approach to helping victims. Nearly three years after the Joplin tornado, they have collected almost $5 million…and still have $4 million in the bank.

PREVIOUS STORY: Tracking donations for Joplin tornado relief

Ben Smilowitz of the watchdog group the Disaster Accountability Project told me local groups are often the way to go.

"Local food banks. Local community foundations. Local human services organizations that have been there for a long time are best equipped to help their neighbors," he said. "Much better than organizations that have boards of directors thousands of miles away."

PREVIOUS STORY: Salvation Army still holds millions in Joplin donations

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