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(The Daily Beast)   American Red Cross collects $150 million dollars in donations for Sandy victims, but can't seem to find a way to get that money to Sandy victims   (thedailybeast.com) divider line 113
    More: Interesting, American Red Cross, Red Cross, Michelle Manning, Ocean County, relief efforts, St. Francis  
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7091 clicks; posted to Main » on 29 Nov 2012 at 12:52 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-11-29 09:03:03 PM

Cloudchaser Sakonige the Red Wolf: A relative of mine who was a relief worker after the November 6, 1977 flood that devastated Toccoa Falls College said that the Red Cross only stayed long enough to get the word out that they needed donations, then left. The Salvation Army stayed until they were no longer needed.


I'll file that under wild unfounded rumors. Different chapters respond to different disasters differently. You have no idea what the circumstances or the resources the local chapter of the Red Cross had at it's disposal at that time. Painting the Red Cross with a brush of any one individual response is not a good way to paint any organization.

This thread is filled with so much wild false and ridiculous lies I'm just going to leave. I suggest some of you people actually research your complete bullshiat garbage before spouting it off as facts.

/ like that's going to happen
 
2012-11-29 09:38:36 PM

Sheila_McSly: I've been a Red Cross volunteer for 8 years. I'm about to deploy to the Sandy disaster area. .


Thank you for being so honest. I've been a big SA supporter in the past. I've kind of slacked off in the last few years and I doubt I'll ever give again.

I'm not saying there's much fraud involved, but if your description is true - the outfit seems to be greatly mismanaged. A $3.4B/yr tax exempt corporation can't do better than rental cars and motel rooms? The raw material of the finished product is donated labor and property. I realize only $1B of this is from actual donations, but the $2.3B brought in from program services, (classes and such), seems a little high. Not for profit?

It just seems to me that flying retired volunteers business class to safe locations near disaster areas to be given rental cars and motel rooms is not very cost effective; and to actually hire people to make sure the retired people don't walk off... I don't know, it's hard to wrap my head around. Not your fault - it's the CEO's fault.

The company makes over $3B. Taking just $100M of that - take it into an area that's the hardest hit and most in need - that's a $1000/victim for an area with 100,000 victims. A grand is a lot to spend with all the donated resources. I could buy each a sleeping bag and tooth brush with cash left over to feed them prime rib for a couple months. For that kind of money jets could be chartered to fly victims out; spread them out a little and the impact wouldn't be as great.

Not that the way it's done is wrong, but the company sales pitch doesn't portray the money I give during an emergency will go for a couple week trip for a retired person, with very little going to victims. 

With a majority of the company's income and expense going to program services in the form of classes, it seems the charity/disaster part is just a sideline. I think the lack of visibility of the company during actual disasters proves this point.

/just stressed from working too much
//need a vacation
///where do I sign up
 
2012-11-29 09:58:30 PM

RanDomino: Iceberg659
I'm sure the Red Cross has a large presence in the area

What makes you so sure?


Nothing really. I just don't want to believe the "go to" disaster relief org is farking everyone over.
 
2012-11-29 11:02:37 PM

Ficoce: Sheila_McSly: I've been a Red Cross volunteer for 8 years. I'm about to deploy to the Sandy disaster area. .

Thank you for being so honest. I've been a big SA supporter in the past. I've kind of slacked off in the last few years and I doubt I'll ever give again.

I'm not saying there's much fraud involved, but if your description is true - the outfit seems to be greatly mismanaged. A $3.4B/yr tax exempt corporation can't do better than rental cars and hotel rooms?


Well, the Red Cross used to provide money directly to victims using either checks or cash cards, but donors don't like that either. If you took the money and spent it on prime rib or booze, everyone would still be upset (though I, personally, would not have a problem with buying you a drink if you just lost your house). Also there were some victims who would go to several different chapters with the same story so they would get extra money. It's very hard to distribute cash without collecting grifters. It was a serious problem. I'm really not sure what's going on with that aspect of the program. They could still very well be issuing prepaid cards to victims under certain circumstances.

I agree with you that the rental cars/hotel rooms thing is not super efficient. But it takes a long time for Red Cross culture to change. And in the meantime workers have to eat, sleep & get to and from the work site. Really the jobs on a disaster aren't that different from normal jobs. The best way to help change it is to get involved.

I'm in my 20s & I'd love it if more people my age could volunteer. But can you leave work/school/family for several weeks in your 20s and 30s?

Well. Mabe we shouldn't be deploying people or things that way at all. But then you're going to have to basically rebuild the organization from the ground up. And that's not going to help Sandy victims today. On the other hand, an ERV serving free hot meals might, no matter how it got there.

/once again, that's personal opinion, not the position of the Red Cross
//it's a volunteer organization, so please join if you have some good ideas. I'm not joking. Most of the volunteers & staff involved are pretty cool and you really do get to help people. Also it's always a real eye-opener. It's certainly not all sunshine & kumquats, but I really think the biggest problem is inefficiency, not fraud. I think things will change, but people have to participate. It's easy to criticize. That said, I totally understand people who don't like this model. I have certainly had my own ups & downs with the organization. I think most volunteers have. I hope you'll do something else though.
///If you're serious about joining, contact your local chapter.
 
2012-11-29 11:19:20 PM
OK, this is the last thing, but it's not a vacation when you're putting in 12-14 hour days on a difficult and sometimes dangerous job. Especially when you're an older person. And we fly economy class.

/finished
 
2012-11-30 02:16:12 AM

Pray 4 Mojo: This is why you don't donate money to these relief groups... instead you just go wherever the disaster is right after it happens and dive around looking for people you can help.

Trust me... it's the best way. They only ask that people stay away to maintain their monopoly on the relief industry.


If you can be physically present to help people, that's great.

But it you're talking about getting supplies to people - food, blankets, whatever, then you're compeltely wrong.

ARC buys in bulk, at wholesale. They have experience creating kits that give people the supplies to clean up, or sleep, etc. They can make a dollar go MUCH farther than you can picking up stuff at Wally world and handing it out on your own.

They also distribute supplies to community groups, so that little comfort kit that the local church or other community org was handing out may well have come from the Red Cross.

I'm sure you can find all kinds of anecdotal evidence of absence for the Red Cross, FEMA, or whatever. People hear about a telethon and think that means these people should be on every corner.

I hope these whiners get that audit they want (and guess where the money to pay for that will come from). Open the books, show the supplies purchased and distributed. There aren't any shareholders, they don't pay dividends, and if you think $500K is a huge salary for a CEO of an organization with thousands of employees (and many more volunteers) you're ridiculously naive.

That's not to say their overhead/admin/fundraising costs are so low as to be stellar, or that there are no lessons to be learned to improve response to the next disaster. But the conspiracy derp that they're somehow hoarding money to jet off to five star hotels is pretty silly, verging on tin foil hat territory.
 
2012-11-30 02:43:36 AM
Notice all the good press the National Guard has received? Even Victoria Secret passed out the warm fuzzies after having generators and a fork lift at the right place at the right time. People give the Red Cross the kind of money that could really make a difference. If they were a public company the shareholders would be making the changes. Maybe giving donors voting rights would give upper management a reason to pause; their jobs would be tied to productivity and results. It is the donor's money they are spending after all. If that didn't make them happy - they should drop the NFP facade and do what they are good at - being a social service and first aid training company.
 
2012-11-30 09:04:53 AM
Finally the siliver lining to the existence of entitled douchebag new yorkers, they notice right away and say something when they aren't getting money and assistance.
 
2012-11-30 10:27:55 AM

Bunkyb123: They used all the peer pressure and cult-like tactics they could think of to make everyone sign cards giving them automatic payments from every paycheck. The cards were placed in front of each person at a table and you looked like a jerk if you didn't sign up. I didn't though. They were pushy, creepy, and acted entitled. I'm sure you know who I'm talking about.


United Way.
 
2012-11-30 11:05:09 AM

Ficoce: The company makes over $3B. Taking just $100M of that - take it into an area that's the hardest hit and most in need - that's a $1000/victim for an area with 100,000 victims. A grand is a lot to spend with all the donated resources. I could buy each a sleeping bag and tooth brush with cash left over to feed them prime rib for a couple months. For that kind of money jets could be chartered to fly victims out; spread them out a little and the impact wouldn't be as great.


How the hell would you get the food there? Where would you land the jets? How would you get people from where they are, through the broken and flooded roads, to the jets? How much would it cost to house them somewhere outside the city? How much would it cost to get them back? Do these people have the money to feed themselves, or do you need to feed them? How are you going to restore their way of life?

Or do you just move them from the disaster area, dump them on the street, and let them be homeless somewhere that's not flooded and has running electricity?
 
2012-11-30 11:18:32 AM

Sheila_McSly: I agree with you that the rental cars/hotel rooms thing is not super efficient. But it takes a long time for Red Cross culture to change. And in the meantime workers have to eat, sleep & get to and from the work site.


Workers are more important than displaced street rats.

Repeat: Workers are more important than displaced street rats.

Displaced street rats need to be kept fed, sheltered, and basically alive and healthy. That's why the workers are there. The best way to do this is to restore the area to a functional community with housing and infrastructure that allows the displaced street rats to stay fed, sheltered, and basically alive and healthy. In the mean time, you need to put out extra effort supplying tents, food, medical care, and so on to keep these folks alive and well. Barely.

Workers are useful. Workers are actually fixing shiat, getting food and water to people, cleaning up the road, restoring the infrastructure. Workers need to be kept fed, sheltered, alive, healthy, and fresh in body and mind. They need to sleep comfortably at night and wake up feeling refreshed. They need extraneous medical supplies and services--massages and things like tiger balm will keep their bodies feeling great, helping their minds stay sharp so they can stay in the area and continue to provide aid for a longer period before we have to waste a ton of money shipping them out and shipping new volunteers in. Likewise, feeding these folks better is important--they're doing work, they need more food, more minerals that are being burned through, more calories that are being used for fuel, and something decently palatable to keep stress down so we don't have to cycle them out.

New workers are expensive and difficult to bring in. They show up with no friggin' clue what's going on. The smooth, flowing operation that comes from weeks of working at a certain job is lost; these people have to figure out what's going on around them, what the situation is, who knows best what needs to happen, etc. They need to integrate with the community and the relief teams, they need to integrate with the specific disaster, they need to get a feel for what stage of recovery we're in, catch up to all the little micro-projects happening around them and figure out what direction the workflow should go in. They're inefficient to the point of uselessness. A fresh volunteer is a blunt screwdriver for the first several days, and even after a week or two they're still less-than-optimal. If we could keep these folks for months on end they'd be a hell of a lot more effective.

Unfortunately, we can't. There is an endless shortage of labor power in emergent situations. Nobody gets weekends. You work every god damn day, you work all day, you don't go home and hang your coat and then go out to the clubs Friday night. You work and work and work until you go farking insane, because if you slow down people die. Then when you burn out in three weeks, we replace you, not because it's efficient but because we have to.

The least we can do is give these people a nice bed and a good meal. We need them to last as long as they can. They're going to wear out in mind and body so fast.
 
2012-11-30 04:12:47 PM
I work for a large organization. We have a grant to help the unemployed. I could not get the money on the streets without taking it to 2 boards, 3 purchasing agents, and 5 layers of approvals. So I feel the RC's problems and will not throw stones.
 
2012-11-30 05:07:28 PM

Fibro: BarkingUnicorn: Red Cross press release archive, if anyone's interested in their side of the story.

Wow, they picked the worst font on the internet for the "Public Still Plans to Give to Charities During the Holidays" section... ugh.

Also, press releases don't really count as a side to a story.


Aren't press releases the most pure form of "a side to a story" and completely unencumbered by a writer's or an editor's context or an interviewer's questions?
 
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