Red Cross needs donations as disaster responses exceed funding

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- The holiday season provides many family traditions, yet for the American Red Cross it is historically the highest fire season of year. The American Red Cross says: "With disaster responses higher than anticipated for not only December, but also higher for the first six-months of our fiscal year, we have exceeded local budgets which stretch local funding."

Since the beginning of our fiscal year, July 1, the Red Cross' Disaster Action Team has responded to 347 disasters - 180 in Milwaukee County alone - having helped 497 families.

This has been a tremendously busy year for the local Red Cross.  For instance, in the first seven days of the New Year, the Red Cross responded to ten separate disasters, including a terrible fire which left a single mother of seven children homeless.

During this Polar Vortex, the Red Cross opened a shelter when 39 people, including 13 children, were displaced in the middle of the night.

“Disaster Action Team responders were there every time we were needed to provide emergency housing, hygiene & clean-up kits and even financial assistance to purchase clothing, food and baby supplies.  For our neighbors who have suffered a loss, these disasters are just as devastating as high profile disasters which receive national attention across the country. Now, we’re asking for your help right here in our community,” stated Regional CEO Patty Flowers.

The Red Cross says: "Although we will never stop lending support and providing those in need with emergency resources, we do find ourselves exceeding our financial assistance, feeding & sheltering budget by more than $32,000 - just halfway through our fiscal year- with many cold days ahead."

Local leadership states while the funding shortfall will not affect service delivery to clients, it does affect overall resources. Difficult internal decisions must be made from delaying needed maintenance for buildings & vehicles to delaying purchases.

Your local American Red Cross is now asking for your help by way of a financial gift. All disaster assistance is free thanks to the generosity of the American people. All donations are tax deductible.  Checks can be mailed to the local office at 2600 W. Wisconsin Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53233, you can make a secure online donation at, call 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-236-8680) or make a $10 donation by texting the word REDCROSS to 90999.