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How does the Red Cross use money donated for flood relief?

BREATHITT FLOOD.jpg
Posted at 6:00 PM, Aug 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-15 18:11:13-04

(LEX 18) — The American Red Cross responds to disasters all over the country, but they assure that any money donated specifically for flood relief in Kentucky will be used for that purpose.

Millions have already been raised through the Red Cross to help people in the parts of the state recovering from the flooding, including $3.6 million raised in a telethon put on by the University of Kentucky Men’s Basketball Team, LEX 18 and other partners. So how is that money used?

“It’s the immediate needs that we’re focusing on – shelter, food, access to medical care and health resources,” said Todd James, a spokesman for the Red Cross.

The organization also provides mental health and crisis counseling, he said.

As of Monday, the Red Cross had provided shelter to more than 900 people in eastern Kentucky since the flooding, served more than 100,000 meals and snacks, and provided about 9,000 relief supplies, James said.

James said it was still too early in the disaster response to be able to release a report with a breakdown of how the money is being spent, but that such a report would be made available down the road. He also said that, on average, 90 cents of every dollar donated goes directly into disaster aid.

And while the organization’s resources are currently focused on immediate aid for people who are without housing or food because of the flooding, money will also eventually go directly to people who are working to rebuild their lives, James said.

“Whatever the disaster is, when you’re standing there, and your home’s been torn apart and you’ve lost all your belongings you don’t even know where to begin,” James said. “You don’t know what questions to ask.”

The Red Cross’ volunteers and workers on the ground at distribution centers and traveling around eastern Kentucky help people find the answers, James said. Those workers can also be reached by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

LEX 18 Investigates will continue to follow how donations to eastern Kentucky are used and provide updates when spending reports are available.