Local Red Cross chapter doing good work

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 26, 2002

The Red Cross has come under heavy scrutiny and criticism in the wake of its handling of Sept. 11th donations.

And rightly so.

It’s outrageous, if not criminal, that those funds were not immediately distributed to the victims for which they were intended. While the criticism may be warranted for the national organization, it’s unfair to paint the local chapters with the same brush.

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They are staffed by our friends and neighbors, mostly on a volunteer basis, who do the best they can to help those who have immediate needs for shelter or clothing in the wake of disaster.

But the Red Cross does more than that. Hardly a day goes by in which this newspaper does not carry information regarding some sort of class the local Red Cross chapter is offering – babysitting, CPR, etc. If not classes, it’s blood drives the volunteers are conducting to further lend a hand.

In Saturday’s News-Herald, reporter Barbara Allen wrote about efforts of local Red Cross Executive Director Faye Byrum to fingerprint as many children as possible. Such a crusade could hardly come at a better time, with parents running scared over the rash of child abductions that have occurred across the nation.

An anonymous sponsor donated the money to buy 900 of the fingerprint kits, but that’s not nearly enough.

Byrum is seeking more sponsors so fingerprint records are on file of every child in Suffolk, and that’s a tall order.

Despite the news accounts of national Red Cross abuses, good works are still being conducted at the local level and the agency needs all the financial support it can get.