Mrs. Germann’s recent letter asked where was the Red Cross when there was a fire in the city? My question is, where was the Helping Hands Association? Before the Red Cross limited its local service, help was available to disaster victims on a 24/7 basis. Helping Hands was formed to ensure that immediate help continued. When there is a fire, clothes and food as well as shelter are lost, clothes being worn are smoke-filled, and immediate financial help is needed.
It also was to help disaster victims’ long-term recovery. This had formerly been provided by the Red Cross with in-kind donations through Gifts in Kind International. When the Red Cross limited its operation here, it donated that in-kind bedding and household items to Helping Hands. Gifts in Kind regulations clearly state that these materials can’t be used as door prizes, and these were given to the officers of Helping Hands. Yet, this organization freely supplied these materials as door prizes instead of keeping them for fire victims and others in need.
The purpose of Helping Hands designated in the 501c3 application for IRS status as a charitable organization was disaster service and transitional housing. It was not formed to duplicate service already offered by other local charitable organizations or to provide door prizes.
Members of Helping Hands who were trained by the Red Cross for disaster services left Helping Hands because they felt its mission had been compromised. Obviously, the organization is not responding to the fire scenes to ensure immediate aid.
How much of the $1,000 Helping Hands obtained last year from the City of Danville and the $5,775 from Fiscal Court went directly to Danville and Boyle County disaster victims? Fiscal Court awarded it $5,800 again this year, supposedly to provide that immediate aid in Red Cross’s absence. It’s time for this organization to be on call to respond on a 24/7 basis to disaster scenes and provide that immediate aid to victims or give back the county’s money.
Thank goodness for the Salvation Army. At least there is some immediate help available for fire victims standing in the cold after their home burns.