Local Red Cross depends on local donations

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 30, 2003

NATCHEZ &045;The 911 call is not the only emergency service available at any time.

Adams County’s American Red Cross is available 24 hours, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year.

The American Red Cross, a humanitarian organization led by volunteers and guided by its Congressional Charter and the Fundamental Principles of the International Red Cross Movement, provides relief to victims of disasters and helps people prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies.

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The mission of Red Cross Disaster Services is to ensure nationwide disaster planning, community disaster education, mitigation and response to provide the American people with quality services delivered in a uniform, consistent and responsive manner.

&uot;We are a humanitarian organization pretty well-known for international disaster relief. We help with disasters descending from international, national, state and community,&uot; said John Goodrich, interim director.

The American Red Cross responds to disasters such as hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, fires, and other situations that cause human suffering or create human needs that those affected cannot overcome without assistance.

Existing for more than 80 years, the organization continues to serve a fairly large area.

&uot;We are involved in single-family disasters in a five-county area of Adams, Wilkinson, Jefferson, Amite and Franklin,&uot;

Goodrich said.

&uot;We manage each county’s bank account.&uot;

Although all Red Cross assistance is given free of charge, much of the funding is made possible by United Way and generous contributions of people’s time, money and skills.

United Way allocated approximately $18,000 to Red Cross last year, but with everyone tightening his or her belts, Goodrich said he doubts the organization will receive that this year.

&uot;There is a big misinterpretation. People believe that we are a government agency, but we have to generate all of our funds locally,&uot; he said.

Each year, chapters are required to send money to the national office, eventually getting the money back through services.

The remaining money is distributed throughout the county.

&uot;When the straight-line wind, or tornado, came through downtown Natchez several years ago, the national Red Cross spent over $100,000 here, so we got our chapter assessment back,&uot; Goodrich said.

Recently, although not as active as they would like to be, Adams County Red Cross assisted families who were affected by the fire in Holiday’s apartment.

&uot;We helped five families with lodging and emergency needs such as food and clothing, all of which comes out of local funding,&uot; said Goodrich.

Around the clock and around the globe, during times of personal crisis, American Red Cross also helps keep families in touch with loved ones serving in the military services.

&uot;When there is death or sickness in a family, we submit the messageŠ and it gets delivered to that unit,&uot; said Goodrich. &uot;It is really important for families to contact us when there is a death because the serviceman can’t be released without a Red Cross verification.&uot;

In addition to being a disaster relief organization, the American Red Cross is the recognized premier provider of first aid, CPR, aquatics, water safety, HIV/AIDS prevention education, mission-related care giving, and other health and safety education programs, which are developed in collaboration with experts from the fields of medicine and aquatics to reflect the latest information and techniques.

All courses are designed to teach the exact skills people need to respond to an emergency.

On Sept. 25 and 26, the Red Cross will give an instructors course for CPR and first aid. &uot;We have some openings in the course,&uot; Goodrich said. &uot;Classes are regularly scheduled on the third Saturday of every month.&uot;

&uot;We also teach water safety, first aid for pets, babysitting, and HIV and high risk transmission courses,&uot; he said.

In an effort to raise funds, the Natchez Chapter of Red Cross will host a USO show at the National Guard Armory on Nov. 15.

&uot;This is our first year having the event. We hope to make it annual,&uot; said Sharon Goodrich, organizer.

The fund raiser will welcome veterans of the Korean War. To make everything look as authentic as 1953, locals will come in period dress or Hawaiian shirts. Some women will wear 1953 Red Cross uniforms to transport everyone back to that time, Sharon Goodrich said.

&uot;For some, it’s nostalgia and a welcome home,&uot; she said.