Sarah Dow, Director of the American Red Cross of Pickens County, is facing an ironic situation. While checks and donations continue to pour into the Pickens County office, most are earmarked for relief efforts in Haiti and Chile. Meanwhile, the local Red Cross continues to see a decline in donations for local services. “The people in Pickens County have always been kind and generous, responding to needs when they see them.”
“While supporting our sister society in Haiti, the American Red Cross of Pickens County continues to provide services across the county everyday. This is because of the time and training we invest in to prepare for emergencies. Whether it is teaching a first-aid class that gives the knowledge to save a life or a disaster volunteer who helps a family recover from a house fire, we are ready to respond at a moment’s notice.” Dow said. In fact, 200 times each day, the American Red Cross volunteers help a family who lost everything in a house fire or other disaster.
How many emergencies does the local Red Cross respond to?
A lot lately.
Thursday there were four fires in a 12-hour period in Pickens County, making a total of five fires that Red Cross officials responded to in Pickens County in just four days.
In each case, the Red Cross assesses the need of each client to determine the mix of services that are needed including clothing, food, winter garments, shelter, bedding, linens and medication to name a few.
Two of the families now have members in the Augusta Burn unit. The Red Cross put these families in touch with a group that provides free housing for families with members visiting or staying with loved ones who are in the burn unit.
Of the other three families, only one needed shelter for a few nights, which the Red Cross provided.
“You never know when a need is going to appear,” Dow said. “The important thing is that we are ready to act when somebody does have a need.”
Some relief for the Red Cross’s financial concerns should come this month, as many churches across the county will have “Red Cross Sundays,” in which the mission and efforts of the Red Cross are discussed, and a love offering is collected for the Red Cross.
“We hope people will be generous and take advantage of this opportunity,” Dow said.
The annual Red Cross Golf Tournament is set for March 31 at Smithfields County Club in Easley. Call the American Red Cross at 878-0131 for more information how you can support these events or your local Red Cross.