American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund is Empty

Charity makes public plea for urgent donations at 1-800 HELP NOW or

National Headquarters
2025 E Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20006

Contact: Pat McCrummen
Phone: (202) 303-4288
Cell: (202) 439-0714
mailto:[email protected]

WASHINGTON, Monday, September 15, 2003 — As Hurricane Isabel continues its path towards the United States, threatening families along the East Coast with potentially damaging winds and torrential rain, the American Red Cross has announced that, due to a decrease in financial support and an increase in “silent” disasters, its Disaster Relief Fund is empty.

The Disaster Relief Fund allows the Red Cross to provide immediate emergency assistance to the victims of everything from multi-unit apartment fires to severe storms to damaging floodwaters. Disasters strike communities across the nation about 186 times daily – the majority are called “silent” disasters, never making the news. After a disaster strikes, the Red Cross relies on the fund to mobilize volunteers and resources to help communities throughout the United States recover.

Due to the state of the Disaster Relief Fund, Red Cross assistance to disaster victims for the foreseeable future will be focused on meeting immediate basic human needs, such as food, clothing, shelter, essential medication and mental health counseling.

“Since its inception in 1881, the American Red Cross has been guided by the vision of humanitarianism and fueled by financial donations from citizens and businesses,” said President and CEO, Marsha J. Evans. “While the vision continues, the fuel has run out.” Americans can make a donation to the Red Cross today by calling 1-800 HELP NOW or visiting””.

According to a recent poll conducted by the Red Cross, about 50 percent of Americans are not prepared for natural or man-made disasters and what’s more, 58 percent have not taken the steps to make a disaster supply kit. As Hurricane Isabel threatens to be one of the strongest hurricanes to hit land in many years, the results could be devastating: millions of dollars of damage, lives lost, families broken.

Simply put, the current state of the economy makes it difficult for the public to support disaster victims to the extent they have in years past. From July 1, 2002, to June 30, 2003, the organization spent $114.3 million while taking in only $39.5 million. The supply is just not keeping up with the demand, which could be the result of several factors, including a downturn in the economy.

Even as we concentrate our efforts on shoring up our Disaster Relief Fund, we must also include a plea for increased blood donations. Our national blood inventory is already dangerously low and with the probability of an interruption in blood collections due to the approaching hurricane, it becomes even more critical that Americans make an appointment to donate life-saving blood by calling 1-800-GIVE LIFE today.

Although many Americans contributed generously to the Red Cross two years ago in the days following September 11, 2001, they may feel the organization does not need further funding. But the money donated after the attacks is exclusively designated for the victims of September 11 and their families. While the Disaster Relief Fund is set up to help the victims of disasters, the Liberty Fund is set up to help only the victims of 9-11 and their families. The Red Cross cannot borrow from the Liberty Fund to help the victims of Hurricane Isabel or any other disaster or emergency.

The future ability of the Red Cross to perform our full humanitarian mission of support to those in need is threatened and can only be sustained by generous monetary contributions and blood donations of concerned Americans.

All Red Cross disaster assistance is free, made possible by voluntary donations of time and money from the American people. You can help the victims of thousands of disasters across the country each year by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, which enables the Red Cross to provide shelter, food, counseling and other assistance to those in need. Call 1-800-HELP NOW or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish). Also, contributions to the Disaster Relief Fund may be sent to the American Red Cross Milford Chapter, PO Box 390, Milford, CT 06460 or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013. Internet users can make secure online credit card donations by visiting””. Also, donations are being collected at Coinstar machines at local grocery stores across America. To find the nearest Coinstar machine, visit””.

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