Red Cross Funding Hits 15-year Low - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

07/17/03 - East Texas

Red Cross Funding Hits 15-year Low

One of the largest relief agencies in the country is asking for help. The American Red Cross says Hurricane Claudette could cost them $1 million in supplies and aid.

Representatives with Red Cross say that's hard news to take, considering their National Disaster Relief fund is at a 15-year low. Red Cross needs at least $56 million for potential disasters and has only $1.5 million.

A string of national tragedies and fewer donations have depleted the funding, says American Red Cross-Smith County spokesperson, Tammy Prater.

Prater describes her agency as "scraping by." She says, they can afford to pay bills and provide local services. But a major tragedy would send them directly to the national fund.

Red Cross-Gregg County overspent its budget by $12,000 last fiscal year. Prater says a December apartment fire in Longview and the Tatum tornado hit the agency hard. And just as their new fiscal year was beginning in July, another tragedy occurred.

"The explosion in Kilgore was terrible stress for the Red Cross in Longview," says Prater. "And those funds to help those families will come from the national disaster fund. So it affects all of us whether we know it or not."

You can make a donation to the National Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund by calling, 1-800-Help Now.

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