Key Chapter Looking for Help

By: Lindsey Brown Email
By: Lindsey Brown Email

Helping the victims of things like severe weather and fires is really difficult for the American Red Cross Key Chapter right now. Its local disaster fund is critically low.

That means if something happens with the weather overnight, the agency will be scraping to find the money.

"We appreciate those who have given money for the victims of Haiti, because that will be such a long-term recovery. But we hope that our local residents remember our local victims of disasters," said Susan Wehr, executive director of the American Red Cross Key Chapter.

Wehr says, along with the international disasters, the need locally has also been great.

"We respond to fires. And for some reason this year, I don't know, if it has been the cold, but in the first 59 days of the year, we had 39 fires," Wehr said.

And this unusually high fire activity has put a burden on the Key Chapter's local disaster fund. With those 39 fires, the chapter spent $19,000 to provide shelter, food and the necessary clothing.

"Our disaster budget for this year is $51,000. However, if we keep on at the rate we have been having fires, we will be spending well over $100,000," said Wehr.

Wehr says the community has to come into the process. She's asking that area residents remember that fire can hit anyone at any time.

"And then we will provide funding to help them buy clothing they may need, to help them buy food," said Wehr. "One day we had three fires that impacted 24 people. Those three fires alone for 24 people, the chapter spent nearly $5,000 to get them through the first 72 hours of the disaster."

And along with financial assistance, the Key Chapter could also use volunteers. If you would like to help, contact the Red Cross at 601-485-5151, where officials say they are more than ready to put you to work.

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