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Winter storms put local Red Cross in the red

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WILMINGTON, NC (NEWS RELEASE) -- The Eastern NC Region of the American Red Cross has seen an increase in disaster-related costs since the beginning of the fiscal year. The region is more than $50,000 over budget in direct financial assistance to disaster victims. In addition to this, winter storm responses in February have cost an additional $40,000.

“Disasters are unpredictable but the Red Cross will always be there when people are in need,” said Vicki LaBelle, CEO for the Cape Fear Chapter of the American Red Cross. “February was a busy month for us with winter storms and home fires.”

In spite of these challenges, Red Cross Heroes have continued to meet the needs in our local communities. Each year the President of the United States proclaims March "Red Cross Month;" local Red Cross chapters use this time to honor that longstanding tradition of heroism by recognizing local individuals whose extraordinary acts make them a hero. The American Red Cross of Eastern NC 2014 Heroes Campaign will run from March throughout the spring and is an excellent opportunity for local chapters to raise money that benefits Red Cross programs and services in their communities. People can learn more about becoming a Hero for the Red Cross by visiting the Heroes Campaign page.

Since July 1, 2013, the American Red Cross has responded to 605 disaster incidents in eastern NC, the majority of which were home fires, and provided 1,641 residents with immediate emergency assistance including shelter, food, clothing, supplies, referrals, comfort items and emotional support.

During the winter storms the Red Cross supported 10 shelters which housed mainly elderly, disabled, and residents with medical needs whose power was out due to the accumulation of ice. In addition to opening shelters and providing meals to those without power, the Red Cross assisted 10 other families whose homes were badly damaged or destroyed from fallen trees and fires that started as a direct result of the winter storms.

Sixty-one Red Cross Heroes from around the region including New Bern, Jacksonville, Greenville, Rocky Mount, and Elizabeth City traveled to areas in southeastern NC to assist in counties that experienced the greatest number of power outages.

“We could not help so many without the generous support of our donors, and we continue to need the community’s support to help so many displaced after home fires,” said Labelle. “You see, our donors and volunteers are our Red Cross Heroes.”

The Eastern NC Region of the American Red Cross consists of 9 chapters serving nearly 2 million people across 33 counties.

To be a Red Cross Hero, make a donation to support the vital programs and services provided by the Red Cross to our communities, visit www.redcross.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS.

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