Red Cross Downsizing?

By: Andrea Wilcox
By: Andrea Wilcox

The outpouring of support from local Red Cross chapters has been a relief for hurricane Katrina victims.

Now the organization seems to be on a downsizing trend.

Following a nationwide trend, ten Ohio Red Cross chapters have closed their doors in the past four years, but in many cases, it's not the end; it's a new beginning.

"The merger provides a stronger support and resource base to provide services to that county and in a lot of cases the merger was driven by some rough economic times."

Chris Burge is the executive director at the Washington County Red Cross.

He says chapter mergers can be beneficial.

"You eliminate a certain percentage of the administrative costs. You don't have two directors; you don't have two separate phone systems."

Burge says the Washington County chapter has no plans to consolidate or merge; however, he says the chapter has felt the drain on resources after Hurricane Katrina.

"There is a risk that folks run a focus on the national response, and forget that we still provide services everyday to the local community and we're a little bit concerned."

Despite the drain, and problems finding funding and volunteers, Burge says Washington County residents don't have to worry.

"The Red Cross is here and will remain here for the community."

While Burge says his chapter is doing fine, he is always looking for volunteers.

If you are interested, you can call the Red Cross at 740-373-0281.


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