With an estimated cost of at least $15 million for the relief efforts in the Central United States, the American Red Cross continues to seek donations for its Disaster Relief Fund. The relief organization is extremely grateful for the approximately $8 million that has been pledged and received for disaster relief to date from generous donors across the country. This update comes one week after the Red Cross announced that the fund had been depleted. The challenges with the Disaster Relief Fund have not adversely affected the level of service that is being provided.
In response to the extreme weather and flooding, the Red Cross has opened more than 100 shelters and deployed an estimated 3,000 volunteers to help serve nearly 500,000 meals and snacks, and distribute the thousands of clean-up kits to families returning to their flood ravaged homes. As flooding continues along the Mississippi River, the Red Cross encourages those who may be affected by the swelling waters to review the flooding preparedness tips that can be found on www.RedCross.org.
The Disaster Relief Fund allows the Red Cross to provide desperately needed immediate emergency assistance to victims of all disasters, small and large. The fund provides for free assistance not only to victims of major disasters like the recent floods, but also to smaller local disasters, like house fires. Since the American Red Cross is not a government agency, it relies on the donations of private individuals and organizations to provide assistance to those affected by disasters.
The best way to help the Red Cross continue to provide food, shelter, counseling and other assistance to victims of disasters is to make a financial contribution to the Disaster Relief Fund. For example, a $25 donation can provide five blankets at an emergency shelter; a $350 donation can provide emergency food and shelter for up to 25 people for one day.
Donors can contribute via the internet at www.RedCross.org , by phone at 1-800-HELP-NOW (1-800-435-7669) or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish) or by mail: American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, D.C. 20013. The Red Cross honors donor intent. If you wish to designate your donation to a specific disaster, please do so at the time of your donation.