Campaign shows what Red Cross does here

Chapter wants people to know how donations help community

The Western Colorado Chapter of the American Red Cross kicked off its annual Giving Tree at the Mesa Mall on Sunday. The Red Cross chapter provides disaster relief to residents in 10 Western Slope counties.

When natural disasters wipe out homes and tear apart lives across the globe, the American Red Cross is there to provide immediate relief.

But David Hintch wonders whether residents know about the kind of work the organization does right here on the Western Slope on a daily basis, whether it’s offering baby-sitting courses or counseling for military veterans.

That’s why Hintch, executive director of the Western Colorado chapter, is anxious to get the word out about the local Red Cross as people open their checkbooks or wallets this holiday season during the annual Giving Tree fundraiser.

“If people want to donate, that would be great. But something that’s equally or maybe even more important is what we do and how we do it,” Hintch said. “You have to feel comfortable about who you’re donating to and what they’re doing with it.”

He and a few volunteers spent a portion of their afternoon Sunday at Mesa Mall, ready with pamphlets and poster boards to talk with shoppers about who the Red Cross is and what it does.

One of the nonprofit organization’s few fundraisers of the year comes at a time when donations are down compared to years past while demand for assistance is as high as ever. Hintch said the Red Cross has provided about $20,000 in fire relief services since July.

As the executive director for three months, Hintch said he is trying to make the Red Cross more visible in the community. He said he and other staff members and volunteers have approached more than 200 businesses in person this year in an effort to not only raise money, but also build awareness and relationships. Last year, he said, Red Cross officials contacted people largely by telephone only.

In addition to monetary donations, the Red Cross needs a new vehicle that can pull six trailers the chapter uses in the event of a significant disaster in the region. Hintch said a 1988 Chevrolet Suburban with 150,000 miles is losing its dependability.

The Red Cross will have the Giving Tree set up through Dec. 28 at the mall. People can donate at the display and at the Mesa Mall Customer Services desk between the Food Court and Herberger’s.

Last year’s event raised about $8,000, Hintch said.


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