Local News

Donations dwindling to regional Red Cross chapter

Posted March 20, 2010 10:38 p.m. EDT
Updated March 20, 2010 11:13 p.m. EDT

American Red Cross

— Triangle residents have earmarked more than $2 million to the American Red Cross for Haiti relief, but donations for the regional chapter are down 35 percent from last year.

“Many of the people who normally give us gifts have now designated that gift to Haiti," said Barry Porter, regional executive director of the American Red Cross. "So we know when they look at their ledger and their checkbook, they say 'I’ve already written a check to the American Red Cross.'"

With donations going to recovery efforts for the Jan. 12  Haiti earthquake, directors say the Triangle-area Red Cross is hurting for money. With funds dwindling, the chapter is considering potential staff reductions and office consolidation.

“Most people tell us when something happens, I’ll give. Well, what they don't know is … over 600 times a year in the Triangle, families lose homes to fires,” Porter said.

The Red Cross often provides housing for area families displaced by fire.

Oksana Melmyk was among the 19 people who lost much of their belongings during a fire at 4903 Arcadian Court in northeast Raleigh. Eight units – one of them unoccupied – were destroyed by the blaze on March 5.

Following the fire, the Red Cross put Melmyk and her family up in a hotel.

“A lot of people like us, they have some problems that they have everything and the next day, they lost everything. So, they need some help too,” Melmyk said.

In an effort to cut expenses, the regional Red Cross has already stopped pay raises and 401K matching options for employees.

You can donate money or goods to the Red Cross by calling 1-800-Red-Cross, or make a donation online at http://american.redcross.org.