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Red Cross seeking funds

September 24, 2000

Red Cross seeking funds



By KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI / Staff Writer


With the fire-prone heating season approaching and a big dent in its disaster fund, the Washington County Chapter of the American Red Cross is making an appeal for financial assistance.

Emergency Services Director Cindy Blackstock Kline said the organization has spent about $5,000 of the $20,000 it has allotted for the 2001 budget year that ends June 30.

"We are asking that the public help support us so that we can support those in need," said Kline.

At a disaster scene, such as a fire or flood, the Red Cross provides for the victim's immediate needs such as shelter, food, clothing and medicine if necessary.

The Red Cross at 113 S. Prospect St., has responded locally to two major fires this year and other smaller incidents, helping 30 people, she said.

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Nearly $1,000 was needed to help residents displaced from an Aug. 3 fire at St. Clair Apartments in Hagerstown, she said. An Aug. 29 fire at 424 N. Locust St. was also a financial drain, she said.

Kline said she is concerned about the disaster fund because as temperatures drop the potential for heating fires typically increases.

"The heating season is historically when we see the most activity," she said.

The Red Cross is a United Way funded agency but United Way funds are not directly designated for local disaster relief and the organization relies on the public for disaster-relief funds, she said.

Last year the disaster fund was in the red $9,000 after helping more than 100 people in more than 16 Washington County fires, she said.

Officials at the Red Cross have made up for the shortfalls in the past by holding fund-raisers.

"We'll adjust so that no one goes without," she said.

All of the money donated to the American Red Cross disaster fund in Washington County is used to benefit victims in here, she said.

"The money is going directly to help your neighbors," said Kline.

The fund is used for not only victims of fires but of any natural disaster, she said.

Cash donations of any amount are appreciated and are most useful since people are given vouchers for food and new clothing, she said.

"When you've suffered through an event like a fire and have lost everything it helps in the recovery process to be able to shop and pick out your own things. It emotionally puts you back on track," she said.

Donations can be designated for disaster relief and sent to Washington County Chapter of the American Red Cross at 113 S. Prospect St., Hagerstown, MD 21740.

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