Money By Phone
Red Cross adds texting to phone banks as major fundraising tool for Haiti
At this time, the best way to help the people of Haiti is to donate money, said Reggie Gordon, the Chief Executive Officer of the Greater Richmond, Virginia Red Cross. The money will be used by the Red Cross to provide food, water, shelter, clothing, and medicine for Haitians affected by last week's massive earthquake.
Gordon spoke to the Scholastic Kids Press Corps this weekend from an emergency call center set up in Richmond.
"From the very beginning a few days ago our phones have been ringing nonstop," said Chapter CEO, Reggie Gordon.
The Red Cross is an old and trusted non-profit organization that helps people in the aftermath of major disasters. It is an international organization with 700 chapters in the U.S.
The Red Cross uses three symbols throughout the world. For the U.S., Canada, and European countries, the symbol is a red cross. A red crescent is used in Islamic countries. A red crystal is used in Israel.
At the Richmond Red Cross, volunteers were hard at work in the emergency call center. They were set up in a large room with dozens of telephones.
Most of the calls they have been receiving are about helping the people of Haiti. The volunteers answer the phones in the call center and give out advice on how to help. Pizza boxes and soda cans were scattered around the room for the volunteers when they got hungry or thirsty.
Many people want to help in Haiti, but destruction of the airports, roadways, and other methods of transportation have made it hard to get supplies into the country. Gordon said a doctor who had food, medicine, and two helicopters ready to go was delayed because the airport was already at capacity.
Some of the ways the Red Cross is spreading the word about how to help the people in Haiti is by using Facebook, Twitter, and radio and television. This disaster is the first time that the Red Cross has used Facebook to raise donations.
As of late Sunday, the Red Cross had raised $103 million dollars. Of that, about $22 million came from people who had responded to a call to text a code that automatically donates $10 to the cause. One Red Cross spokesman said money is being donated at about $500,000 an hour.
For information on how to contribute to the American Red Cross to help the people of Haiti, log onto the organization's website.
CRISIS IN HAITI
Check out the Kid Reporters' special report Crisis in Haiti for more information on the country and how to help.
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