Red Cross management to decide fate of Albany chapter - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Red Cross management to decide fate of Albany chapter

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By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Dwindling donations put the future of the Southwest Georgia Chapter of the American Red Cross in jeopardy.

The organization will decide Friday whether they've got enough money to continue operations.

If they close, victims of fires and other disasters could be left with no place to turn for help.

The fire at this home started at the fuse box and burned straight through to Jimmy Hill's room catching his bed on fire. When Mark Williams woke to heavy smoke his first thought was of Hill.

"When I opened my brother's door that's when flames shot out at me," said Williams.

Those flames gutted his home, destroyed the new furniture he just paid off, severely burned Hill's arms and legs, and left the two men with nothing.

"We lost everything, we didn't save anything, no clothes, these clothes the Red Cross helped us get. We didn't have anything, we lost everything," said Williams.

According to the Red Cross, to replace things like furniture, personal items, clothing, it costs them about $700 per family, and since December they've helped 27 families in southwest Georgia.

"It does add up, people don't realize it," said Southwest Georgia American Red Cross President Mari Wright.

The nearly $12,000 the Red Cross has paid in assistance in three months has depleted their funds. Now they're looking to the same community they've helped for 92 years for help of their own.

"If every person in 11 counties just gave a dollar that would be $132,000. If every household gave five or ten dollars that would be a tremendous amount of money," said Wright.

"I'm just glad that Red Cross was there for us because I don't know what I would have done," said Williams

With bills due Friday, the Red Cross isn't sure they'll be there for the next family. They've asked the United Way for an advance in funds, but without a sizeable donation, it could be lights out at the end of the month.

This week, the organization sent letters to southwest Georgia churches asking Sunday school classes or congregations to adopt a fire family.

If you want to make a donation to the Southwest Georgia Chapter of the American Red Cross, you can stop by their office at 500 Pine Avenue.

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