Charities have raised at least $16.3-million to help the victims of the recent floods in the Midwest.
The bulk of that figure comes from the American Red Cross, in Washington, which has raised $13-million — about a third of what the group estimates it will need for its efforts in the Midwest.
The Red Cross has depleted its disaster-relief fund and is now borrowing money to pay for to move volunteers and supplies across the country to help with what spokesman Michael Spencer calls “silent disasters.”
“Right now we’re responding to 30 large-scale disasters across the country, and we count on that disaster-relief fund,” says Mr. Spencer. “We’ve got the flooding in the Midwest, we’ve got the tornados that hit Nebraska and across the country in Oklahoma, we also have flooding going on in West Virginia, we’re responding to the wild fires in California.”
Mr. Spencer says the fund’s depletion comes at a particularly bad time of the year.
“The busiest part of hurricane season is just ahead for us,” he says. “We have to have a healthy disaster relief fund for hurricane season. We’re very concerned about that. We need about $80- to $100-million just going into hurricane season because of the volunteers and supplies that we have to move before a hurricane hits.”
Drawing From Disaster Funds
Other charity officials, such as Scott Sundberg, director of communications for the Mennonite Disaster Service, in Akron, Pa., agree that the Midwest flooding is receiving much less public attention, and hence less donations, than other disasters such as Hurricane Katrina. The Mennonite Disaster Service has raised $10,000 so far.
Among the results from other organizations responding to the disaster:America’s Second Harvest, in Chicago, has raised $27,700 in cash and about 830,000 pounds of food and products, some of which was donated by corporate donors and other food banks. The group estimates it will spend about $200,000 providing food, water, and groceries to affected areas, which comes out of a disaster-relief fund. Catholic Charities USA, in Alexandria, Va., has raised $16,000. Farm Aid, in Somerville, Mass., has raised $50,000. Feed The Children, in Oklahoma City, has raised $40,070 in cash and has donated 492,626 pounds of groceries at an estimated value of $669,587.22. The Humane Society of the United States, in Washington, has raised $200,000. Network for Good, a Bethesda, Md., nonprofit group whose online giving site allows donors to contribute to any charity, has raised $5,000 since Friday, June 20, when an appeal went up on its Web site. The Salvation Army, in Alexandria, Va., has raised $2.9-million. Most of that came from a $2.5-million grant that the Lilly Endowment, in Indianapolis, awarded on Tuesday to assist storm victims. The United Methodist Committee on Relief, in New York, has raised about $23,000.