Red Cross jazz program a success

Published 1:37 am Sunday, June 27, 2010

NATCHEZ — The Adams County chapter of the Red Cross’s volunteers and workers put together a program Saturday in the hopes that the sounds of smooth jazz would ease people into relaxing their wallets a little for a good cause.

The group hosted a jazz gala as a fundraiser for the organization in an effort to increase its revenue before they enter into a fundraising blackout in September, Executive Director Debra Davis said.

“This is especially important with hurricane seasons,” Davis said. “Although the national office will come in and give us that money and materials we may need, it is good to have revenue on hand for that time before they come.”

Giving to the local chapter has slowed since the devastating earthquake in Haiti earlier this year, Davis said.

“People have been giving to that instead of to the local chapter, and this is a way to replenish that giving,” she said.

Before it ever began, the gala was a community-wide effort, Volunteer Barbara Dixon said.

“We went around to people and businesses in the community for donations so we could have a silent auction, and they donated a lot of very nice items to us,” she said.

Donations included — but weren’t limited to — free flowers for a year, handbags, paintings, jewelry, gift baskets, gift certificates and autographed books.

Other businesses donated cash to the cause, Dixon said.

Adams County Chapter Red Cross Board of Directors Member Sam Winchester said the funds will be used to help out those in need in the event of a large scale catastrophe such as a hurricane or a small one, such as a house fire.

“We provide assistance to people when they get burned out or in a disaster,” he said.

For example, the Red Cross provides temporary housing for those who have lost their homes.

“We have contracts with local hotels and motels, and we put (the victims) up there for one or two days, until they can find something for themselves,” Winchester said.

The Adams County chapter of the American Red Cross can be reached at 601-442-3656.