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PRESS CONTACT INFO

ROBIN ERICKSON
Director of Communications

PHONE
(401) 831-7700 x101
E-MAIL
[email protected]

Tuesday, January 14, 2003
Need for Red Cross Services Nearly Doubled Compared to '02 -- With Cold Snap This Week, Concern for More Fires

The American Red Cross of Rhode Island reports that the number of fire victims its volunteers have assisted in January is almost double the number compared to last year.

So far this year, 86 Rhode Islanders (34 are children) have received emergency services through the efforts of local Red Cross volunteers. At this point in 2002, 55 people had been helped.

"These numbers translate into a lot more hotel rooms, meals and clothing that the Red Cross is paying for," Barbara E. McGann, CEO, American Red Cross of Rhode Island said. "We are proud to fill this need, but it is putting a real strain on our finances --- and winter has really just begun."

With more cold weather predicted this week, McGann says disaster volunteers are standing ready to respond to fires. When the temperature dips, McGann explains, the Red Cross typically sees more fires occur due to the increased use of space heaters and extension cords.

"The Red Cross is not funded by the government --- we depend on the generosity of Rhode Islanders to do our work," McGann explained. "We are hoping that individuals, families, school groups and local businesses will make a donation or raise money for the Red Cross and help their neighbors in need."

McGann said the need for Red Cross services was up in 2002, compared to 2001 figures. In 2001, the Red Cross responded to 176 fires, assisting 379 families. In 2002, volunteers were called to 189 fires, providing emergency food, clothing and shelter to 383 families.

If you would like more information about helping the Red Cross, call 1-800-842-1122 or visit www.riredcross.org and click on "How to Help."

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