Initial assessments of the American Red Cross response to Hurricane Charley stand at an estimated $50 million to date, forcing the organization to launch a nationwide fund-raising campaign. In addition to Charley - the first devastating hurricane in what is expected to be a busy season - the Red Cross continues to respond to other national emergencies and hundred of small "silent" disasters every day. Red Cross workers, volunteers and supporters are working hard to meet the needs of thousands of victims in their darkest hours. The organization's Disaster Relief Fund - the sole resource for disaster response, must maintain a healthy balance. To do this, we need the support of the people of the Wabash Valley.
Leading the effort, Red Cross supporter McCord Tire made a gift of $250.00 which was the first gift received by the Wabash Valley Chapter for this disaster.
"Support from donors like McCord Tire and individual Americans enable us to launch immediate and expansive disaster operations and wherever disaster strikes," said Carol Stevens, Wabash Valley Chapter Executive Director. "We commend McCord Tire for their donation, which helps us fulfull our commitment to those impacted by a disaster or other emergency."
From August 13 - 19, the Red Cross received $15.3 million in pledges, $4.5 million of which have already been received. "As always, the public and our philanthropic friends are answering the call for help -- but much more is still needed to ensure that the Red Cross is able to respond now and in the near and distant future." Stevens said.
In response to Hurricane Charley, the Red Cross has mobilized a massive relief effort. More than 250 shelters were opened across Florida to provide emergency shelter and food (including more than $560,000 meals and snacks so far) to local residents.
Many shelters remain open to those people whose homes have been damaged or destroyed by what is being called "the worst storm to hit the state in more than a dozen years."
Wabash Valley Chapter volunteers, Barbara and Ray Pridemore from Sullivan County left our community on Friday, August 13 before Charley struck florida and by Sunday, August 15 they were delivering much needed food and hydration from the Wabash Valley Chapter's emergency response vehicle to families in Port Charlotte whose lives were rocked by the hurricane. Then on August 18, another Chapter volunteer, Pat Richey of Vermillion County headed to the Red Cross call center in Falls Church Virginia to assist in taking the thousands of calls that flooded into the Red Cross toll-free hot line 866-GET-INFO.
All American Red Cross disaster assistance is free, made possible by voluntary donations of time and money from the American people. You can help the victims of Tropical Storm Bonnie, Hurricane Charley and thousands of other disasters across the country each year by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, which enables the Red Cross to provide shelter, food, counseling and other assistance to those in need. Call1-800-HELP NOW or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish). Contributions to the Disaster Relief Fund may be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013. Internet users can make secure online credit card donations by visiting www.redcross.org.