Ways you can help hurricane victims

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Fortunately, the wrath of Hurricane Frances missed Alabama.

Unfortunately, thousands of families in Florida are currently in the beginning stages of rebuilding their lives. Their homes, memories and dreams were shattered when Frances barreled through the Sunshine state this past weekend.

Here's how the American Red Cross suggests you can help the victims of Frances recover from the devastation:

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Blood is always needed in a crisis situation. To learn more about blood donation opportunities, visit www.givelife.org or call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE (1-800-448-3543).


Financial donations to the Red Cross are the best way to assist victims of disaster. Monetary contributions enable the Red Cross to purchase the most urgently needed items as close to the disaster site as possible. Purchasing near the disaster site ensures supplies get to victims as quickly as possible, without delays and hefty transportation costs. Because communities hit by disasters generally experience significant economic loss, buying goods locally also helps to stimulate the weakened economy by pumping money back into area businesses.

n Unsolicited, spontaneous donations of goods and services from individuals and community groups, though well intentioned, have hidden costs and pose a number of complications for relief efforts. For these reasons, the Red Cross is unable to accept any large collections of items, such as used clothing, hygiene items, furniture, toys, and canned goods. Nor are we able to accept small, individual donations of these items.


The Red Cross may accept donations of medical equipment or supplies if the product meets a need of a Red Cross relief operation or program. The Red Cross follows guidelines established by the World Health Organization. All donated medications must be at least one-year away from their expiration date. Medications that have been issued to patients but that have not been used, and free samples provided to health care professionals, cannot be accepted for donation as their quality cannot be guaranteed. In addition, returned drugs are very difficult to manage at the receiving end because of packaging issues and the small quantities involved. If you are a company interested in making a bulk donation of medical supplies or equipment, please contact your local Red Cross chapter.

To make a donation call 1-800-435-7669 or visit the online donation system. If you are experiencing problems while donating online, it is due to extremely heavy volume on our Web site. Please try again later in the week or call our 800 number.

For general Red Cross questions write the American Red Cross National Headquarters 2025 E Street, NW Washington, DC 20006 or call (202) 303-4498.

God bless everyone who was effected by this horrible storm.