Ben Hillyer | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Natchez Red Cross Office Director Debra Davis, volunteer Ann Sternberg along with Community Response Coordinator Lasheka Coleman and volunteer Laura Smith put together comfort kits Tuesday afternoon.

Red Cross provides comfort during disasters

Published 12:06am Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Editor’s note: This is the 10th in a multi-part series highlighting the needs of area non-profit agencies during the holiday season.


NATCHEZ — When there’s a state of emergency — even a personal one such as a house fire — the Red Cross aims to be there to help victims up from the ashes.

The Capital River Chapter—Natchez Office of the American Red Cross assists in 17 counties but has a primary responsibility to Adams, Amite, Franklin, Jefferson and Wilkinson counties.

Natchez Office Director Debra Davis said the goal of the Red Cross is to provide disaster relief to those affected by calamities large and small,

“We provide assistance during a time of disaster, whether it be during hurricanes, storms or tornadoes or a house fire,” Davis said. “Right now we have been answering a lot of house fires in our area.”

The assistance that the Red Cross provides in the instance of a house fire includes comfort kits, temporary lodging and monetary donations for clothing and food.

The number of house fires the Red Cross has had to respond to means that right now the organization needs donations of items for comfort kits, Davis said.

Comfort kits include hygiene items such as body wash, shampoos and towels that the Red Cross can hand out to families at the point of disaster.

“We are also trying to launch our ‘friend and family’ campaign, where we ask businesses and other donors to donate funds or supplies to help a family that has been the victim of a house fire,” Davis said.

The Red Cross is also currently conducting its Holiday Carols campaign, Davis said.

“In that campaign, we collect cards that are signed by local businesses or city officials, and we send them to individuals who are in the armed forces,” she said.

As a larger organization, the Red Cross also responds to regional and national disasters, including the recent devastation in the Northeast that followed Superstorm Sandy. The Natchez office also works with the local emergency management agency during storms and other disaster events to coordinate their response if they are needed.

Those who want to help the Red Cross can give in three ways — through money, the donation of goods or through their time. Mississippi Red Cross Spokesman Jared Ravencraft said 96 percent of the organization’s workforce for humanitarian efforts is volunteer.

Davis said those who are interested in finding out how to volunteer locally can contact the Natchez office at 601-442-3656 for more information, or those who want to make a monetary or goods donation can send or drop it off at 211 N. Union St.

All checks should be made payable to the Red Cross. More information about how to volunteer can be found at

Online donations can also be made at the website, and donations can be made by phone at 1-800-733-2767. A $10 donation can be made via text message by texting REDCROSS to 90999.

How you can help:

The Capital River Region—Natchez Office of the American Red Cross seeks to provide disaster assistance to communities at large and families affected by tragedy such as house fires. The Red Cross needs volunteers or donations of goods or money.

Donations in Natchez can be taken or mailed to 211 N. Union St. Online donations can, and donations can be made by phone at 1-800-733-2767; a $10 donation can be made via text message by texting REDCROSS to 90999.

More information about volunteer opportunities can be found at the Red Cross website, or locally by calling 601-442-3656.



  • Anonymous

    My Father came out of a jungle with his surviving buddies in the South Pacific in 1944. There was a red cross station there on the beach. They asked if he wanted a Coke. He said he did. They said that would be a nickle. He was in muddy and bloody rags and told them he had not had a cent on him in months. They told him sorry.
    I give to several worthwhile charities but rc is not one of them. Not a cent.

  • Anonymous

    Not to mention they supplied defenders of violent criminals with refreshments and other support, free of charge, when they marched on Jena, LA. The Red Cross can go pound sand.