Monday, September 12, 2011

When did helping your neighbor become so difficult?

Last week our area experienced record rainfall (over 9 inches of rain in a 24 hour period) followed by record flooding.  Many families were evacuated, and still have not returned to their homes.  Having received word that one of the shelters was in need of clothing, books, games, and things to help people pass the time while the waters recede and they are allowed back to their homes, we packed up some supplies and headed out.  Upon arriving at the shelter, we were told by a Red Cross volunteer that "they couldn't take any books or games, and clothing must have tags from the store still on them."

I stood there dumbstruck.  Here we were trying to offer needed supplies and were being turned away.  Returning home, the news ran an update, stating that the Red Cross was looking for donations, specifically money.  Given what I had just found out, I can see why they are asking for money.  To me it appears they aren't willing to accept the donations that could aid someone instantly, they would rather fill their coffers and have the aid come when they are ready for it.

To say I am disappointed with the Red Cross is an understatement.  Instead of helping those people at the shelter, I will find another place who will take my donation and distribute it to those in need.

Have any of you had experience with the Red Cross like this?  Or is this just a local issue?


  1. This after you worked an extra night shift at the town to help with the emergency phone calls??? Yeah, I be angry too!

  2. see, this is why I donate through the church. So sorry you had that experience!

  3. Trisha:

    This was actually in a different town than mine. Our town has been great! They kept the website updated and made sure everyone knew what was going on (same cannot be said of the village I live in. Their website was completely outdated for information.)


    That's what we are doing now. Would have done so to begin with, but wanted to go to where the need was.

  4. Well, poop on them! You should go get all the Monopoly money you have in the house and throw it at 'em.

  5. Large organizations with big salaried administrators aren't the way to go. The grassroots approach always seems to get better results and is much more satisfying.

  6. That is so sad. I'm sorry your good supplies. What a waste!

  7. How frustrating. I agree that large charity organisations are sometimes much less efficient at aid efforts than some small local projects. I'm sure they would be grateful for any donations!

    Just donated a big sack of old clothes this morning to the needy. It's a great feeling! :)

  8. P.S.: And might I add that none of those clothing had tags attached. Guess they're not Red Cross worthy.

  9. That's too bad about Red shouldn't be so difficult to help others!

    Also, I gave you an award over at my blog!

  10. That truly is a sad commentary about how bureaucratic charitable organizations have become. I am really sorry that happened to you :-(

  11. OH, I am so sorry that you had that experience with the Red Cross. I volunteered for them for a year and a half. We took all kinds of donations during a crisis.

    One reason the Red Cross asks for cash donations is to fund the "gift cards" they give to families after a disaster. The money is to help cover immediate needs.

    All of my experiences with them were positive. The chapter I volunteered with would go above and beyond to help out someone in need, even if the need wasn't related to a disaster. I remember helping people getting heat turned back on when they were having financial problems.

    Again, I'm sorry that you had such an awful experience.

  12. That is just ridiculous. I've had experiences similar but it wasn't for Red Cross. I tried donating clothes for a local charity and they refused them because they weren't name brand... It's sad when you go to offer help and that help is refused.

  13. It isn't just a local problem. A tiny percent of the millions of dollars the Red Cross collected to give aid to the people of Haiti actually went to Haiti. Do a Google search for "red cross Haiti scandal" and you will find the amounts.

    The Red Cross is now in business to make money, not to help victims. That's the problem when a non-profit gets too big. They lose their purpose.

    This is the main reason that my cash donations go to smaller non-profits. Bella Medical Ministries ( is a good example of the type of charity I will support.


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