United Way emergency Critical Issues grant helps American Red Cross with rise in local fires

American Red Cross

The American Red Cross has received a grant from United Way in light of an increase in the number of local fires

United Way of the Mid-South’s volunteer allocations committee has awarded an emergency grant for $25,000 to the American Red Cross so it can address needs created by an unexpected increase in the number of fires in our Mid-South area. The funds come from United Way’s Critical Issues Fund.

The first half of the total grant amount ($12,500) has already been awarded so the American Red Cross can address pressing needs. The second half is to be awarded as a 1 to 1 match for funds the American Red Cross will raise from other sources, a common practice known as a “matching grant” in nonprofit circles.

“The American Red Cross performs a wonderful service helping those families in our community who have been devastated by fire, providing them with essential resources at a critical time, enabling them to pick up the pieces and start over,” said Jeffrey Mayhew, volunteer allocations team leader for United Way’s Strengthening Families and Neighborhoods impact area. “The higher number of fires in our area has significantly taxed American Red Cross resources.”

The American Red Cross noted a rise in the number of fires between July 1 and December 31, 2010, when it provided assistance to 382 fire victims. This was a 53% increase over the same period in 2009. During the first ten days of January, 2011 the American Red Cross had already helped 32 families.

House fires - stock photo

The number of home fires in our area from July - December 2010 was significantly higher than in the previous year

“We’re very happy to be able to assist our friends at the American Red Cross during this time of unexpected need,” said United Way President Bryce Haugsdahl. “United Way is always concerned with helping people during times of crisis and for many families in our community who lose their home due to fire, the emergency care provided by the American Red Cross is important to keeping them from experiencing even further hardship.”

The American Red Cross is a long-time member partner of United Way of the Mid-South’s network of care.

For media information about this grant, please contact United Way’s vice president of communications Dave Skorupa at 901.433.4380 or at dave.skorupa@uwmidsouth.org

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