Re: American Red Cross

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By adamsld
October 18, 2004

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I also nominate the American Red Cross, and more specifically the Red Cross National Disaster Relief Fund.

I have been a disaster volunteer with the Silverado-Napa County Chapter for over fifteen years, and a board member for nearly ten years. You don't stay with an organization that long unless you believe in it, unless you are JAZZED by it. I am also on a Disaster Action Team (DAT) for local disasters.

The Red Cross is one of the few non-governmental organizations I know that will respond day or night for disasters, whether single family or huge ones like the Loma Prieta earthquake and the Florida hurricanes. My own small chapter sent volunteers to help in Florida as well. Over 4,000 disaster VOLUNTEERS who set aside their own jobs and lives to help others worked in Florida, with more going in all the time to replace the ones who have been there for three or more weeks. Many of the volunteers in the hard hit areas in Florida and the SE United States lived in the same type of shelters as the displaced residents.

The hurricanes in Florida, following as they did the huge fires in Southern California and Arizona, have placed a huge financial strain on the national Disaster Relief Fund, and have virtually wiped out all the money budgeted for major disasters nationwide. The hurricanes alone have cost the Red Cross over $65,000,000 and counting.

In the past seven weeks since Hurricane Charley hit, the Red Cross has opened 1,733 shelters, housing over 415,000 people. Working together with the Southern Baptist Convention, the Red Cross has served over 10 million meals, and is still serving over 100,000 meals and snacks every day. That is more than double the number of meals served following Hurricane Andrew in 1992. In this partnership, the Red Cross supplies and distributes the food while the Southern Baptists Convention set up and staff the kitchens and recruit their volunteers to cook it.

The Red Cross is chartered by Congress to help Americans with disaster relief, but the Congressional Charter provides no money to help meet the mandate. For that, the Red Cross depends on the voluntary donations of the American people and businesses. All Red Cross disaster assistance is free, thanks to the donations of Americans. No one is ever asked or expected to repay the Red Cross. As CCSand said, you never know when you may need help from the Red Cross.

Another proud Red Cross volunteer thanks you for your consideration,

Larry Adams

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