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The Journal Gazette

Thursday, October 12, 2017 1:00 am


Red Cross efforts heroic

I am writing in response to a Sept. 24 letter from Dr. J.R. Cotter stating that the American Red Cross “rips off those who give.” I wanted to provide another perspective as someone who spent two weeks in Texas providing hurricane relief with a partner organization working closely with the Red Cross.

Like Dr. Cotter, I rely on NPR and similar news organizations for my information. However, I wanted to make sure that the important work done by Red Cross during disasters was not overshadowed by sometimes-misleading information regarding their finances.

I had the opportunity to work in four shelters in Texas, including the mega-shelter housing up to 2,650 individuals in the convention center in Dallas. What I saw were hundreds of dedicated Red Cross staff and volunteers working long shifts to ensure that evacuees had a bed, food, medical care and basic supplies/services during an extremely difficult and chaotic period.

As someone who worked in nonprofits for many years, I know the public likes to see funds going directly to clients, and certainly organizations need to ensure that the majority of their funds are used that way.

However, services to clients cannot happen without appropriate organizational infrastructure. For example, thousands of Red Cross volunteers served with relief efforts for both Harvey and Irma. Red Cross pays for travel expenses for those volunteers. Without that support, the volunteers would not be there.

While in Texas, I also saw the efforts of Red Cross staff to maintain hurricane relief efforts from Harvey while ramping up support and volunteers for Irma. This was a monumental task in the midst of ever-changing circumstances.

All organizations need to be accountable to those who donate, but also should be recognized for the important work they do, especially in times of disaster. I encourage potential donors to check out Charity Navigator and other sources to provide the information they need to support relief organizations.

Pamela Leffers

Fort Wayne 

A glaring contradiction

I assume all readers shared the same emotions as me – shock, horror and sadness – concerning the Sept. 30 story of the conscienceless young woman who attempted to poison her own 11-week-old niece. Thanks be to God that the tragic death of this child was prevented.

A further tragedy, however, remains that even younger children are victims of far more horrific deaths by abortion. I would challenge anyone to defend or justify the attempted poisoning of a baby. But the actual killing of children and the resulting trauma to their mothers via abortion is championed by millions under the banner of rights, health and freedom. It is an indictment on our culture that it cannot, or will not, recognize this contradiction.

Kevin Hildebrand

Fort Wayne