Red Cross seeks city's help
by Chance Wright
Aug 12, 2012 | 1469 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jennifer Coleman, manager of the Northwest Mississippi chapter of the American Red Cross, recently requested the Cleveland Board of Aldermen consider including a $3,000 donation in next week's budget meetings for the upcoming fiscal year.

While it represents only a fraction of the city's budget, funding outside agencies and nonprofit groups like the Red Cross is always a hot topic.

The American Red Cross provides relief to victims of disasters and helps people prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies.

According to its Web site, it has been serving the people of Mississippi for over 92 years.

"Our calendar year runs from July 1 through June 30," said Coleman. "Over the last year we spent $5,015 in the city of Cleveland assisting 42 individuals in need. I am here tonight because I am not sure if you all are aware of what we do for people who have lost most everything in disasters like home fires."

She explained that when a house fire occurs and leaves families without basic needs like lodging, food and clothing, the American Red Cross steps in and assists them in getting back on their feet.

"It is usual policy for us to put them in a hotel for up to three nights and provide them with a debit card, so to speak, that can be used to purchase food and clothing," Coleman continued. "Our organization is there for the sole purpose of taking care of their immediate needs."

The Red Cross also assists families of other tragedies including hurricanes, tornadoes and flooding.

"The American Red Cross is made up of nearly 97 percent of volunteers," said Coleman. "So, in addition to the funding request I also come before you tonight to request help in recruiting volunteers."

Anyone interested in volunteering with the American Red Cross is encouraged to contact Coleman at 662-236-1282 or the chapter's emergency readiness response team in Greenville at 378-3245.

The Red Cross provides services to everyone regardless of age, gender, race and income level.

After instruction from Mayor Billy Nowell, Coleman left the necessary paperwork for the donation request with city administrator John Lindsey.