American Red Cross helping local fire victims

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE October 6, 2009

Contact: Bill Harrison

804-780-2256 (o)

804-396- 0162 (cell)

The American Red Cross, Southside Area Chapter is helping 30 people displaced by the recent Poplar Forest apartment complex fire with debit cards for food and clothing. “We could have also provided shelter, but everyone located housing,” stated Rosalyn Andrew, Chapter CEO.

Farmville volunteers Peggy Nightingale, Vandal Holman, Chelsi Hood, Chris Atkins and Lena Rose Huddleston were the first Red Cross personnel to arrive on the scene. They were later joined by Andrews and volunteers Iva Branch of Blackstone and Morris Burke of Richmond.

“We have spent about $4,000.00 thus far on the operation,” said Andrews. “All American Red Cross help is free, made possible by the contributions of time from our volunteers and donations of money from the community,” continued Andrews.

“This fire is a reminder that tragedies such as this can happen to anyone.  We must be prepared and know how to respond when a fire strikes our home.” she said. “I must share that the response from the Farmville community was a bit overwhelming. People came out of the woodwork asking how they could help. Breakfast for the residents and firefighters was donated by the Prince Edward County Public Schools, Longwood located housing for their students and the Poplar Forest management team made the transition so much easier by immediately refunding security deposits and rents.”

Andrews noted that while material possessions can be replaced, family heirlooms and more personal items cannot. “We have mental health counselors who will meet with people who have faced disasters as oftentimes it takes a few days for the reality to set in,” she said.

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American Red Cross

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“We would love to recruit more volunteers from the Farmville area as the help is much more immediate when the responders are local,” said Andrews.

“The area covered by our chapter is extensive and we are working to increase our volunteer forces as well as build up our monetary reserves.”

To help with monetary donations or for information on how to volunteer, contact the American Red Cross, Southside Area Chapter, 3267 A South Crater Road, Petersburg, Va. 23805 or donate on-line at www.SouthsideArea.RedCross.org. The Chapter’s phone number is 804-733-5711.

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