American Red Cross Tightening Their Belt

By Camaron Abundes  
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND- A slimmed down staff and new central location are two ways the Red Cross is trying to make up for an expensive fiscal year.

"Our funds we're definitely depleted because of all these events," Executive Director Bob Rice, said.

Rice says since last July the Red Cross has responded to nearly 100 disasters, mostly grass fires in the 26 counties they cover.

"Often times we're called out to canteen for the firefighters," Rice said.

Rice says 511 people also turned to the Red Cross after fires and other disasters, all at a cost of about $1500 dollars per family of four.

"Mobile home fires, individual residences, apartment fires, anytime there is a fire victim, we hope we will be notified to help them so we can provide them with food, clothing and shelter and assistance," Rice said.

In March, the nonprofit cut it's staff from six to three paid employees and consolidated to one centralized location behind the CAF.

"It's centrally located. It's much easier to provide services, to both Odessa and Midland," Rice said, "Financially, it's a much better situation. It's a much stronger position to be here."

Despite the downsize, Rice says donations keep the organization going.

"In order for us to continue to provide a service, we do need donations on an ongoing basis," Rice said but added a large sum of money willed to the Red Cross by a Midland man who died last year kept the organization from going into debt.

This year he says they must raise about $100,000 in donations to meet their budget needs.
  
In addition to disaster relief, the Red Cross offers a number of services including classes like CPR. Rice says they are always accepting volunteers and donations.