We received this news release today from the local chapter of the Red Cross:
Always there to help, American Red Cross now in need of hand
MITCHELL – Not even four days into the New Year and the local chapter of the American Red Cross has burned through its disaster service budget – literally.
Due to three fires in the area, one right after Christmas, one on New Year’s Eve, and another on Monday, Jan. 4, the Dakota Plains Chapter of the American Red Cross has surpassed its disaster services budget, which was supposed to last until July. Now the American Red Cross is appealing to the community for help in replenishing its disaster relief fund.
“Our budget for disaster services for fiscal year 2010 – July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2010 – is $2,595, as of today we have already spent $3,791 and this does not include today’s fire, which I estimate to be an additional $1,100,” said Jackie Horton, director of the Dakota Plains Chapter of the American Red Cross in Mitchell. “The American Red Cross is able to provide disaster relief because of generous support from the American people. We aren’t a government entity and we don’t charge for our disaster relief services, and your support of the American Red Cross allows us to answer our community’s calls for help today, tomorrow and throughout the year.”
The Red Cross was called to a fire scene in rural Hanson County and caseworker Terry Grajkowske reported to the scene. At this time, the Red Cross does not know from dispatch that the home is a total loss and there are four members in the family.
This is the most recent in fire calls, but Red Cross volunteers have been busy since just after Christmas when a fire broke out on Dec. 28 in Delmont. This fire left one adult without a home. Two pets also perished in the fire. Red Cross volunteer Christina Strid was dispatched by Red Cross board member Kay Thomas on Monday to assist. She met with the client, and provided emergency food and clothing. Emergency lodging for three nights was also provided, as were referrals to other agencies that may be able to assist. Thomas was the disaster captain for this fire, board members Don Kranz and Cindy Easton entered the case in the client assistance system.
A family of three lost its home to a fire on New Year’s Eve in Mitchell. The family was lucky to not be injured in the fire, but a dog and cat died. Red Cross volunteer Ken Hammer agreed to go to the scene and then come in to the chapter and assist the family. The family was insured but due to the holiday they were not able to make contact with their insurance agent. They do have family in town and will stay with them. They have a 7-month-old daughter who lost all of her Christmas presents in the fire. The family was given comfort kits, a teddy bear for the little girl, emergency food and baby formula, clothing/shoes, infant crib and linens, and bedding. Red Cross volunteer Ken Hammer was the disaster captain for this fire, and Dakota Plains American Red Cross director Jackie Horton entered the case in the client assistance system.
“Volunteers like Terry Grajkowske and Ken Hammer are the heart and soul behind Red Cross assistance,” Horton said. “Whether it be on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico or simply across town, Ken and Terry truly embrace neighbor helping neighbor. They answer the call for help at a moment’s notice and are on the scene providing assistance when our client’s need it the most.”
Help people affected by disasters like the recent house fires, by donating to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. On those rare occasions when donations exceed Red Cross expenses for a specific disaster, contributions are used to prepare for and serve victims of other disasters. Your gift enables the Red Cross to provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance to victims of all disasters. Call 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767), or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish). Contributions to the Disaster Relief Fund may be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter at P.O. Box 535, Mitchell, SD 57301, or to the American Red Cross, P. O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013. Internet users can make a secure online contribution by visiting www.redcross.org.