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The Daily Tar Heel

Local Red Cross Chapter Combats Shortages

The recent terrorist attacks in New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania have contributed to the local resource shortage, Red Cross officials said.

But Wally Hill, chairman of the chapter's board of directors, said that despite the chapter's financial troubles, the nonprofit organization is secure for the time being. "Times are tight," Hill said. "We need donations and volunteers, but I do not envision we will be shutting our doors in the near future."

In the wake of last week's terrorist attacks, some officials say it could be difficult to raise the funds needed to keep the chapter running.

Casey Copp, director of blood services for the chapter, said she does not want to take any money away from the national relief effort by asking for donations for the local chapter.

"With the tragedy that took place last week we don't want people to be asked to donate money twice," Copp said. "It's important for people to realize that (the) national (organization) doesn't give money to us, we send money to national."

Amy Jewett, a volunteer at the Orange County chapter, said the money needed to support local Red Cross programs typically comes from the community.

But in spite of recent donations, she said the chapter has not been receiving the financial backing it needs to operate.

"Funds are drying up to keep the chapter open," Jewett said. "The mortgage on the building, like every building in Chapel Hill, is huge, and right now we can only afford to pay the interest."

Jewett said the chapter was forced to let go two full-time staff members two weeks ago because it could not afford to pay them. "(The staff) have no one to clean the offices," she said. "They do it all themselves."

She said the chapter sent three volunteers to New York and four volunteers to Washington to aid in national disaster relief, heightening the need for volunteers.

"That was the most people out of any one single chapter," Jewett said. "The funds were bad before, but the disaster made it even worse."

Copp said keeping the chapter's local disaster fund strong is important, especially during the hurricane season.

"So far we've been really lucky, but you never know when something might happen," she said. "It's important to keep the local disaster fund too.

"We just want people to be aware that there is a need here as well as nationally."

The City Editor can be reached at citydesk@unc.edu.

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