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Friday, October 3, 2003
Citizens Bank in Warwick Sponsors Toy Drive For American Red Cross of RI

They wanted to make a difference, and that's exactly what they did. Employees of Citizens bank on Jefferson Boulevard in Warwick decided in July that they wanted to host a toy drive at their office and only expected to gather a handful of toys. Two months and 200 toys later, they finished their drive and delivered the toys to the American Red Cross of Rhode Island.

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"The toys could not have come at a more needed time. Our disaster volunteers are almost out of plush animals to give to children," commented Barbara McGann, Chief Executive Officer of The American Red Cross of Rhode Island. "It's amazing the effect a stuffed animal can have on a child after they have lost everything in a fire. We are ever so grateful to the employees of Citizens Bank for their generous humanitarian support of our Chapter," McGann continued.

About 400 Rhode Island children are affected by house fires each year. When their parents seem distraught beyond belief—a plush stuffed animal is sometimes the only thing that can make a child feel secure.  A Red Cross of Rhode Island disaster volunteer relayed the story of a young child whose home was still burning when the Red Cross arrived on scene. The child was crying and clinging to her Dad but he had other matters to attend to. The Red Cross volunteer knelt down by the child and gave her a stuffed bear. The child sat down, wiped her tears and comforted the bear.  Sometimes, that's all it takes.

In 2002, the Red Cross of Rhode Island provided emergency food, clothing and shelter to almost 400 children displaced by house fires. The Red Cross typically spends $1,000 per family of four that it assists. All Red Cross assistance is free, thanks to contributions from individuals and organizations. The Red Cross is not a government agency and relies on private donations to provide emergency assistance to Rhode Islanders in crisis.

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