Local donors raise thousands for Haiti relief

Individual donations to Haiti relief efforts at the Western Colorado Chapter of the American Red Cross reached $12,000 to $15,000, and officials said they hoped to double the amount during a phone-a-thon today.

The Red Cross headquarters at 506 W. Gunnison Ave. will be open today from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. for contributions, and staff members will take phone pledges at 242-4851 during those hours.

While callers are welcome, Red Cross Executive Director David Hintch said he hoped to meet people at the headquarters and answer questions about relief efforts and the need for cash by agencies such as the Red Cross.

Businesses also are encouraged to join in the relief effort, he said.

“I’ve managed some of these things, and I have a good insight as to why we take cash,” Hintch said.

Cash is easily transported to places where it’s needed and can be spent on items that officials know are needed, Hintch said.

Purchasing at the site also props up a local economy in need of support, he said.

Food contributions also can be problematic, because disaster victims might not be accustomed to them, and consuming them could cause more harm, he said. Cash allows officials to purchase the right foodstuffs for the region, he said.

Other donations, such as clothing, might be inappropriate for the region, Hintch said. Clothing also is bulky and takes time and expense to sort and transport, he said.

“We want people to stop by and talk with us, so they can see where their money is going and how it’s being used,” he said.


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