From: Kevin Huddleston
Winona County Red Cross
We have experienced an overwhelming number of calls, e-mails and walk-ins from the generous, caring people of Winona County, wondering what they can do to help with relief efforts for those in the regions in Southern Asia who have experienced the tragedy and devastation from the tsunami. The outpouring of compassion from our community is tremendous, but also not surprising as Winona County citizens are known for their generosity and willingness to help others - even people halfway around the world! Thank you!
In a moment, I will share with you how you can donate directly to help with the tsunami relief efforts. First, however, let me quickly clarify the difference between designated and non-designated gifts. Designated money, as you might guess, goes directly to whatever it is designated for - in this case, the relief efforts in south Asia. The local Winona County Red Cross chapter sends 100% of these designated donations to the American Red Cross headquarters in Washington D.C. where they are immediately deposited into the International Relief Fund to help those victims and their families. On a local level, the Winona County Red Cross also receives and completely depends upon ongoing undesignated donations in order to continue offering all of our services to Winona County - helping victims of local disasters, providing health and safety training, promoting emergency preparedness, carrying out numerous blood drives, and other critical services. So, there are two ways to give, designated and non-designated, both very important, and I would like to encourage you to remember both as you make your donations this year!
That distinction made, just how can you help with the international relief efforts in South Asia? While the Red Cross cannot receive goods such as canned food, blankets, clothes, etc., we are actively receiving monetary donations which, through the American Red Cross International Relief Fund, will go directly to aid the tsunami affected regions. The money provides immediate as well as long-term relief to the victims and their families with regard to their most basic and important needs. There are four ways in which you can give to that fund:
1. You may call 1-800-HELP NOW with your credit card donation.
2. You can give through the Red Cross website: www.redcross.org
3. Gifts can be mailed directly to: American Red Cross International Relief Fund, P.O. Box 37243, Washington D.C. 20013
4. Finally, you can also drop by or mail your donation to the Winona County Red Cross at 1660 Kraemer Dr., Winona, MN 55987.
If you write a check out for the relief effort, please make it out to "ARC International Relief Fund". All other undesignated donations can be written out to the "Winona County Red Cross".
When desperate times occur, we are all called to sacrifice just a little more, dig a little deeper, for the sake of others who are suffering. Please allow me to encourage you: in addition to your undesignated gift to the Winona County Red Cross, to go over and above that gift with a designated donation to the Red Cross International Relief Fund. Let your generosity touch lives both locally and, quite literally, around the world!