It was no ‘business as usual’ weekly Rotary meeting on March 26.
Local chair for the American Red Cross HEROES (Helping Everyday Responders Offer Emergency Services) Program and fellow Rotarian Lainie Jenkins, related life-saving tips and other vital information with her club. She conveyed the importance of a family fire escape plan, encouraged everyone to get trained in CPR/First Aid, prepare for disasters now and get trained in disaster services before disasters strike.
Sprinkled with a bit of humor, Jenkins told of personal experiences of how she had experienced the training given to her by the Red Cross quite some years ago. She also reminded the club that the Red Cross is the 24-hour-a-day link between home and service members stationed anywhere in the world able to relay urgent communications and is there when our troops leave and return from Hunter Army Air Field and Fort Stewart.
Perhaps the most compelling facts Jenkins communicated were statistics concerning local giving. The Red Cross spent more than $14,000 in Effingham last year responding to local home fires, hydrating and feeding firemen during the brush fires and answering the call for help during the Mother’s Day tornadoes in the Ebenezer area. Collections last year from Effingham County were only $2,500.
Jenkins’ practical way of devising a solution looked at possible scenarios such as: if every person working in Effingham would give $1.50, workers could band together and raise the necessary funds to cover local expenses. Or if each citizen in each household would give only 50 cents, the fund could support two years’ worth of expenditures. Another way would be for each business in the county to contribute only $20.
The Red Cross is not a government agency, receives no government funding and is solely dependent on contributions from individuals, civic organizations and businesses to function.
Here is how to help; call Jenkins (826-4900 or 663-0301) if any of the following suggestions apply:
• Businesses wishing to have employees make contributions or wanting to contribute corporately or from a foundation
• Civic clubs wanting to find out more, to reserve a Red Cross speaker or to make a contribution
• Groups of individuals wanting to host a fundraiser
• Principals in the school system wanting to participate in Dollars for Disasters program
• Churches wanting to contribute to Red Cross Sunday — special collection envelopes available upon request
To register for local health and safety classes, call 651-5300. To volunteer for disaster services in Effingham County, call Al Lucas (547-1763, cell or 772-3788, home).
All money donations remain local for use in Effingham County. All donations are very much appreciated and needed before the current campaign for 2009 ends in June to meet a $12,000 goal. The American Red Cross follows strict rules regarding donor intent and is an extremely good steward of contributions.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and counsels victims of disasters to include house and apartment fires, floods, tornadoes, earthquakes, hazardous chemical spills and hurricanes; provides nearly half of the nation's blood supply; teaches lifesaving skills; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its humanitarian mission.
For more information, please visit www.redcross.org.