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Red Cross needs more funds

January 22, 2001

Red Cross needs more funds



By KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI / Staff Writer


Usually in the business of helping others, the Washington County chapter of the American Red Cross is asking the public for financial help.

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The local Red Cross' disaster fund is just about depleted, said Emergency Services Director Cindy Blackstock Kline.

Since December, the Red Cross has been called on to help victims of nine fires in Washington County, she said.

Blackstock Kline said the organization allotted $20,000 for the disaster fund for the 2001 budget year that ends June 30.

"If we haven't exceeded that amount we are very close," she said.

The fire-prone heating season could continue until March, and that worries Blackstock Kline.

The heating season "puts a tremendous strain," on the disaster fund, which is used not only for fires but for any natural disaster, she said.

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"We need to appeal to the public to offset our costs," she said.

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.

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 the shortfalls in the past by holding fund-raisers.

All of the money donated to the American Red Cross disaster fund in Washington County is used to benefit victims here, 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. The Red Cross does not accept donations of used clothing, she said.

Donations may 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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