Red Cross recouping

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 7, 2005

Suffolk residents have helped put food on tables and roofs over heads of countless people in southeastern Asia.

This year, $80,000 -more than 35 percent of the local American Red Cross chapter’s $213,000 budget – went to the aid of last December’s tsunami victims, said Donna Perry, the group’s spokeswoman. Oakland Christian Church made a $10,147 contribution a few weeks ago, the largest single donation to date.

Nationwide, the Red Cross has received $523.7 million in contributions for tsunami relief, she added.

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&uot;I’m thrilled people from Suffolk have been so generous in helping out complete strangers,&uot; Perry said. ‘They have made an impact for the tsunami victims.&uot;

But now it’s time to refocus fundraising efforts on the home front, she said. Local efforts have been dragging in recent months, largely because of the local contributions earmarked for tsunami and Florida hurricane victims, she said.

&uot;Those events have had a severe impact on fundraising for our local chapter,&uot; said Perry. &uot;We need to make sure we can take care of our neighbors right here.

&uot;We don’t get any government funding at all. The future of the local chapter depends solely on the donations of local citizens.&uot;

Last weekend, the Red Cross chapter kicked off its nationwide HEROES fundraiser, which aims to help local chapters replenish some of the local funding donated. Anyone who raises $1,000 for the campaign – whether they stroke a check or hold a special fundraiser – will be honored as a hero, Perry said. All heroes will be recognized during a special event in late June.

Suffolk is hoping to generate $25,000 during the campaign, which ends on June 25, Perry said.

&uot;Every penny will stay here locally,&uot; she said.

People wanting to make contributions should make checks payable to Suffolk chapter of the American Red Cross, P.O. 129, Suffolk, Va. 23439

For more information, call Perry at 539-6645.