Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Finally...Someone Confronts the American Red Cross!!


This is not a call for donations to the Red Cross. I know you, like me, are tired of seeing the Red Cross Logo and the call for donations everytime you pull up Amazon.com and every other web page.

Afterall, we all know that the Red Cross has a monoploy on donations...

But I must say, that I've been getting sick and tired of Atlanta television news broadcasting the fact that the American Red Cross is grossly disorganized. Some evacuees are not getting the help that they should be getting. Debit cards do not work. People are being turned away.

I went to Charity Navigator, a site which rates over 4000 charity organizations, and it turns out that the American Red Cross brought in over 3 billion dollars last year. That breaks down to over 100 million dollars a week.

That's a lot of bread. So what's the freaking problem??

But not a day goes by that I don't turn on the Atlanta news and hear some Red Cross spokesman whining and coming up with excuses for why they are so disorganized, why they can't get the debit cards working, why they can only help a few people, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

It was beginning to look to me like the Red Cross doesn't know its head from its ass...

Apparently one metropolitan politician, Dekalb County CEO Vernon Jones, felt the same way I do. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Vernon Jones kicked the American Red Cross out of Dekalb County. This particular center, the Panola Center, was one of three Red Cross Centers in the Atlanta Metropolitan area.

The Atlanta Journal-Constituion has a bee in its bonnet concerning Mr. Jones, and they tried to make it look like he basically shoved the poor, poor Red Cross out into the cold, and now they are not able to help people. (Almost made me want to pick up a violin and play a sad, sad tune...)

But as usual, when the AJC writes an article on Vernon Jones, he usually goes on a radio station that morning to clear up the AJC's slanted mess. So low and behold, I tuned my radio to V-103's Frank and Wanda morning show, and as expected Vernon Jones was explaining what happened. He basically said that he'd been receiving numerous complaints from evacuees about poor treatment by the American Red Cross. (Several evacuees called the radio station and told their Red Cross horror stories.) He accused them of being chaotic and disorganized, and urged them to automate their processes. He said that Tim English, the director of the center, would not even sit down with Dekalb County and discuss the issues. As a result, he told them they needed to step up to the plate and do a better job or make other arrangements. American Red Cross decided to leave the center and relocate elsewhere...

I'm just glad someone stepped up and said something. I expect for an organization that brings in over 100 million dollars a week to have a little organization about itself. Especially since smaller organizations like the Salvation Army, Hosea Williams Feed the Hungry and Homeless Foundation, and Heal the Hood are doing such a good job with giving aid and assistanceto evacuees. Even many of the local Churches are doing a great job.

But the American Red Cross, which is better financed and more established, should be leading the pack.

Personally though, I think the Red Cross should hire a staff, especially in times of crisis like these, since they can't seem to find enough volunteers. Maybe they can even disperse some money to these smaller organizations that seem to be finding a way to get the job done. Or maybe they should just stick to taking care of blood donations....

Just my personal opinion. They won't see a dime from me until they get it right.


  1. I think it is telling that (according to the AJC, who I don't always trust either!) the day the Red Cross is gone from Vernon Jones's One Stop Center, there are no lines at all.

    Maybe the Red Cross, disorganized as it may be, is providing the most substantial aid to the evacuees.

    And maybe the political points Vernon Jones has scored at the expense of the Red Cross have also come at a cost to the evacuees in DeKalb (and the whole southside), who now have to travel to Cobb or Gwinnett to get Red Cross assistance.

    All the best, Steve Barton

  2. Yes, I think the Red Cross was providing the most substantial aide to evacuees. Shoot, I think I would be hanging around in a long line for a 2000 dollar debit card. Problem is, the cards don't work. People feel tricked. Red Cross just can't seem to get the glitches out of the system, though. (You remember the 9/11 fiasco.) And the fraud is insane. You and I can go down there right now, make up a few lies, and stand in line and get assistance.

    The Salvation Army moved into the Panola Center when Red Cross moved out. So there is some assistance still being given out there. I don't know if they are giving out money, though. The basics-food, clothing, and shelter- will have to do.

    Is this a political move for Vernon Jones? Most likely it is. You've seen how he operates. Most politicians are political at some point... But I'm just glad someone stood up to the Red Cross Bureaucracy.

  3. Yeah, I also wondered what was the reason for the chaos when they have so much dough.

    Great post and great blog by the way.

  4. Like I said before, my trust in the American Red Cross to do what they're designed to do has been next to nothing ever since they COMPLETELY screwed up the Liberty Fund following 9/11. How do you explain all those families of victims and survivors receiving ZERO financial support from a fund that was established EXCLUSIVELY for their benefit? Worse yet, to this day, the ARC still has no definitive answers as to where all the money went . . . unbelievable.

    Clara Barton must be rolling in her grave . . .

  5. Humanity Critic... Interesting, isn't it? Thanks for stopping by...

    Marcus... You see, that was my problem with the Red Cross. Right after the Hurricane hit, I immediately saw all of these REd Cross appeals for donations. I thought... hmmm, didn't the Red Cross screw up the 9/11 donations??
    And why was the whole fiasco swept under the rug??

    And will we ever know??


  6. I had it out with the Red Cross CEO here in NM a couple of weeks ago.
    Since then, The evacuees from NOLA still can't use the debit cards. They have been treated like POW's rather than American Citizens. I am still fuming about what has happened here in ABQ.

  7. Ms. Peculiat,

    Don't it all just make you mad???


Slap the *crickets* out the way, kindly step up to the mike, and SAY something!!