Red Cross needs donations to continue disaster work
by Hawkins Teague
Mar 19, 2008 | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Thanks to an unusually large number of fires since the summer, the Trigg County chapter of the American Red Cross is facing tough financial circumstances. Unless they can raise some money soon, the board of directors might have to consider limiting their services to blood drives, Board Chairwoman Char Frankhouser told The Cadiz Record last week.

This scenario is not a sure thing, but if it did happen, local families would not have an easy place to go to in the event of a disaster. The most typical disaster is a house fire, and Red Cross provides families with three nights’ lodging, as well as toiletry supplies, food and clothing if needed. Frankhouser said that every Red Cross chapter in the country is responsible for its own fundraising, and gets no financial support from the national organization. The entirety of the local chapter’s funds, most of which go toward disaster relief, are used in Trigg County, she said.

In fact, almost all the chapter’s money goes directly to serving the community because there are no salaried staff members like most communities have. Terrye Doyle, the chapter’s treasurer, said that Trigg County’s Red Cross is the only chapter in the Midwest region that is entirely volunteer-driven.

“All our time, energy and mileage is strictly volunteer,” Doyle said.

Doyle said that the Red Cross has assisted victims of 11 fires since the beginning of the fiscal year, which started on July 1, 2007. Nine of those have been since January. The Red Cross assisted 27 people in those nine fires, she said. The local chapter usually raises between $12,000 to $16,000 to spend each year, but 2007-2008 has yielded a bit less. Doyle said the chapter spent $6,000 on the 11 fires, which leaves only $4,000 left until the fiscal year ends on June 30.

Frankhouser said that the board was looking at a few ways to cut expenses, and that that might mean canceling off their phone and Internet service. She said that the land on which their headquarters is located, on Princeton Road, was donated, so they are lucky to not pay for rent. Doyle said that the building was vandalized a couple of months ago when someone punched some holes in the wall. She said that Ron Brown, a board member and the disaster chairman, temporarily fixed the holes, but that the siding still needs to be replaced. Although board member Ken Tyler recently repaired the roof, the siding will cost about $1,400, which is more than the chapter can afford. This is just a bit less than the $1,600 currently budgeted for utilities in 2008-2009, she said.

“We don’t want to spend any money on the building,” Doyle said. “We want to spend it on the people of Trigg County.”

For the rest of this story, read this week's Cadiz Record.
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