Red Cross Goes Above and Beyond

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The amount of money given by the American people for tsunami disaster relief through the American Red Cross is close to $400 million. That's included in $1.2 billion worldwide that has gone to the International Red Cross.

Cheri Barry, executive director of the Key Chapter in Meridian, says over $50,000 came from local givers. Now, she says attention can be directed back to other needs.

"Disasters happen in the United States every eight minutes. Just last week we had seven fires. We serve seven counties. We make sure victims have food, shelter and clothing," Barry said.

Barry says the best way to contribute in any situation is with money, rather than goods.

"Financial donations help us to meet particular, immediate needs," Barry said. "For some, it might be eyeglasses or prescriptions."

After those immediate needs are met, then the Red Cross looks toward the next step, such as in Asia, with disease prevention efforts.

Barry said all communities should be prepared for disaster when it happens. That's why the Red Cross teaches courses in CPR and how to serve people suffering from HIV or AIDS, just to name a couple.

To contribute either money or your time to the American Red Cross, you may call (601) 485-5151, to find out how you can be involved.