It's the number one disaster in the state and it's slowly depleting the relief funds of the Central Alabama Red Cross. We are talking about fires. When a family is burned out of it's home the Red Cross responds but the economy is hitting the agency hard putting help for fire victims at risk and the red cross facing a crisis.
"At that moment we had no where to go we had nothing we lost everything." Althea Brown and her family lost everything when their Montgomery home caught fire. Her story is not unique to Jackie Buck, a spokesperson for the Red Cross. "Quite often when they come in they reek of smoke and they don't know what they need."
Althea Brown was referred to the Red Cross where she received immediate assistance. "I can't tell you, I mean I'd probably be lost. They not only helped out with a place to stay but something to eat, gas, food and a place to stay."
It's that kind of help that fire victims need, and it's putting a strain on the Red Cross' local disaster relief fund. The local Red Cross serves 14 counties.
In Montgomery County, the Red Cross has already spent more than 57 thousand dollars helping fire victims. The agency projects spending some $76,000 by the end of June. "We are seeing more and more where corporations that have sponsored our events or bought tables are just not able to do that because of the economy." said Jackie Buck, a spokesperson with the local chapter of the American Cross. She also calls other disasters like the tornado in Prattville a factor.
Donations that would usually go to the American Red Cross went to help storm victims. "We are not a federal agency. We don't get government money for this program. So we have to raise every penny of it," Buck said.
The Red Cross is counting on the publics help keep donations coming in so the Red Cross can keep answering the call from those in need. The Red Cross is turning to some of the larger churches in the area hoping they can help out during the agency's time of need.
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