Red Cross need for funds increases

Published 4:45 am Monday, February 18, 2008

By Staff
Since Christmas, your local Red Cross Chapter has been selling raffle tickets on a log cabin, designed and built specifically for this raffle by local building contractor, Lou Como. Mr. Como donated his work hours and paid his crew to build the playhouse. Materials were donated by Swift Supply, Bondurant Lumber and Supply, South Alabama Metal Sales, and Emily Wesley. Jim Rapp carried it in the Christmas parade, and Mike Rapp is moving it back to the office to better show it until the raffle in March at Easter. The goal, set high due to need, is to raise $10,000 for local disaster at $2 a ticket. The drawing has been extended until March 21.
You see, local communities must support their chapters in the disasters which happen in their area . After every fire in which we are called to assist, we support clients in beginning their recovery. We are to inform the public and ask for donations to replace those funds spent. Those are the rules.
We appreciate every penny donated through United Fund, but the rising cost of disaster relief puts quite a strain on the budget. The funds we receive from United Fund go to meet the needs of disaster victims. The contributions individuals make to United Fund that ends up in our office are vital to the support of those victims.
Thursday's fire is a good example of why fund raising is so important and why we continue to fundraise with both the raffle and the upcoming Heroes campaign.
When you addlast Sunday's fire to Thursday's fire, the total expended this week alone was $2,495. Since Jan. 1, 2008, just a month and a half, $5,140 has been spent on fire recovery assistance for six families. An additional $450 is outstanding on motel charges to be paid within 30 days. The account balance, before paying the motel is $115.78.
The call that a fire had broken out in the “D” section of Wynnchase Apartments was relayed to us about 4 p.m. Eleven families were affected in one way or another. One apartment and it's contents were destroyed. The apartment below had smoke and unknown water damage. An additional family had severe asthma and had to be housed for the night until their apartment could be aired out. The other families in that unit had to be out of their apartments for a time and are sleeping with open windows to air the apartments or with friends elsewhere.
We ended up housing three familes - 13 people in four hotel rooms. We finished up at 10 p.m. Thursday night. Caseworker Maggie Dozier came in as soon as she was called, staying until we were finished. She was much help and a good partner during those six hours, talking to potential clients, offering comfort to those displaced and doing casework in the office.
The two (long-term) displaced families need permanent housing. The four-person family whose apartment and contents were destroyed by fire told me everything is lost. The six-person family living downstairs doen't know the extent of the damage. Maintance workers covered contents with tarps in an effort to protect furniture and hopefully smoke and water has not damaged the contents.
Telling the story, even briefly, of affected families is rather new in this forum for us. If you are able, have some kind of rentors insurance to help begin your recovery process. Even a small, modest policy will help in your recovery should you have a disaster affect you.
Additionally, please remember for your local chapter to continue helping disaster-affected families, your help and support is needed. Please take the opportunity to buy several raffle tickets or donate in some other way. We have five months left in our fiscal year. There will be more fires. Please help us help others in their recovery process -we are your American Red Cross Chapter.
Rogene Martin is director of the local Red Cross chapter.