2009-02-12 / Local & State

American Red Cross Responds To Fires

SPECIAL TO THE NEWS

The Southern Alleghenies Chapter of the American Red Cross volunteers have been busy responding to fires. More fires occur in the winter months, but this year has been overwhelming. Each week since January 1 there has been at least one major fire in each of he chapter's four counties. In a 24-hour period earlier this week, the Red Cross responded to four families in need - two families in Bedford county, one family in Huntingdon county and one family within Altoona's city limits.

"We have exhausted our disaster budget and now are turning to our friends and neighbors to help financially," stated chapter Executive Director Jane Gable. "The number of fires this year is excessive. We have never experienced so much loss in such a short period of time."

The Red Cross, a United Way Agency, is mandated by Congress to respond to disasters but does not receive government funding. The local chapter relies on the support of local donors and local funding sources.

"The Southern Alleghenies Chapter responds to 100 percent of the calls we receive to help those whose lives have been devastated. There is no other agency that does what the Red Cross does - we provide emergency shelter, clothing, food and emotional support and guidance to our clients," stated Dan Boyles, emergency services director for the chapter. Financial support can be sent to American Red Cross, Southern Alleghenies Chapter, 4100 5th Avenue, Altoona, PA 16602 or www.scallegheniesredcross.org.

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