Red Cross, United Way working for Selma

Published 1:03 am Friday, November 20, 2009

SELMA – Providing the community with aid from disasters, the Red Cross of Central Alabama supports those in need from natural disaster or smaller, and personal, disasters such as fires in the home. “Through the holidays we have more fires than every and we want to make sure we have funding to help those families,” said Jakki Phillips, manager of the American Red Cross of Central Alabama’s Black Belt office. “We are here to help the community prepare for, respond to and recover from disaster because we are a disaster specific agency.”

For those who may fall behind on utility bills for heating and air conditioning, the Red Cross helps to cover these bills. “Right now that has no funding,” Phillips said. The next allocation for this project will not be given to the Red Cross until January.

The Red Cross also holds blood drives and health and safety training or certification for first aid and CPR. Paramedics, nursing students and members of the community attend these certification classes.

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They are offering these classes free to Dallas County residents thanks to the help of the White Hall Casino Cornerstone Community Outreach. This project has an allocated budget of $2500, which should train about 70 people. “We need trained volunteers,” Phillips said. “We never know when the unthinkable will happen. We need to need ready to respond, not to train.”

Of the families who reach out to the Red Cross, 17 have a household income of less than $7,500 and 13 have less than $9,999. “That gives you a barometer of the level of poverty in this area,” Phillips said.

The organization has a total budget of $209,000, and the United Way provides $20,000 of this amount annually. Approximately $90,000 of the total budget is used for disaster relief.

“All of our funding for them goes to their disaster relief,” said Jeff Cothran, executive director of the Selma and Dallas County United Way.

“We really support the United Way in whatever endeavors because they are truly necessary in our community,” Phillips said. “We wouldn’t be able to make our goals without the funding we receive. Right now what we’re trying to do is stay afloat.”

The Red Cross is located at 812 Selma Ave.