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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 21
    More: Interesting, American Red Cross, Red Cross, Michelle Manning, Ocean County, relief efforts, St. Francis  
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7097 clicks; posted to Main » on 29 Nov 2012 at 12:52 PM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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Archived thread
2012-11-29 09:26:53 AM  
8 votes:
That's pretty much the Red Cross way.

/oh look, bonuses!
2012-11-29 01:04:04 PM  
6 votes:
I will never, ever, EVER, give one red cent to an organized charity.

I will give my last dollar to someone I know is in need.
2012-11-29 04:24:08 PM  
4 votes:
I've been a Red Cross volunteer for 8 years. I'm about to deploy to the Sandy disaster area. I've also deployed to: Florida (x4), Texas (x2) and North Carolina. Unless you're involved from this end it's hard to imagine the scale of what the Red Cross actually does and how much it costs.

For example, when the Red Cross does a disaster assessment (DA) survey, the first thing they do is rent a huge fleet of cars. Volunteers drive them. We go up and down the streets to check off damage. We assess the condition of the homes, whether or not the electricity is on, the availability of food and gas, people's immediate needs, etc. We look for cheap office space. We talk to business owners. We have to do this before the Red Cross starts deploying more resources. The rest of the organization can't operation without good intelligence. DA cars aren't marked--they're just regular rental cars--so it's possible the correspondent didn't notice them. On the other hand, volunteers are supposed to be in uniform. Damage assessment is not always easy and can be dangerous, for what that's worth.

The Red Cross provides shelter. They provide most of the emergency shelter in the country. Thousands of people stayed in Red Cross shelters during Hurricane Sandy. These people would not have had another place to go--the reason they're staying in a shelter is because they can't afford hotels. Some people are still there. The space for shelters is usually donated, but shelters have to be staffed 24 hours a day. Volunteers provide registration service, food and snacks, medical and emotional care, entertainment for children and safety and security. A lot of people in the shelter need additional social services, so hopefully someone will help them get connected.

Eventually (around the 2 to 3 week mark), the local volunteers are going to burn out or have to go back to work. Then Red Cross volunteers from across the country cycle in to replace them. So you should ask yourself: how do these volunteers get into the disaster area? Once there, where do they stay? How do they meet their day-to-day needs? Here's how: they fly in on airplanes and they stay in hotels at business rates. Which the Red Cross pays. That may seem like an extravagance, but if all the volunteers had to drive their own cars, pay for their own gas, and sleep in a tent in the park, who would they get to volunteer? I don't mind sleeping in a tent in a park (I've done it), but most volunteers are retired. They're in their 60s and 70s. Would you want your parents to sleep outside in Newark in December? Does that seem like a smart decision?

Aside from transportation and shelter, you have to assume between $20-40 per day, per volunteer, in food and personal expenses (toothbrushes, etc.). Yes, the Red Cross does pay for meals if you are on deployment.

Who keeps track of the volunteers and contacts family members if they get hurt (or killed)? Who makes sure volunteers are background-checked? Who make sure volunteers are qualified and trained for their jobs? Who's going to manage the fleet of rental cars and make sure nobody gets in an accident or drives off with one? Most of the people who do these things for the Red Cross are also volunteers, but you need information systems, which means you need IT setup and maintenance. And you have to have a secure place to put that stuff. That means you have to rent office space in coastal disaster areas on extremely short notice. Sooner or later that office space also needs to have electricity, working plumbing and top-notch communications. Do you know how much a satellite truck costs? Do you know what it gets in MPG? Do you know how long it takes to get it where it needs to be when there's no gas, no traffic lights, and debris in the road? It's not easy and the Red Cross does it all the time.

When you talk about Red Cross bulk distribution ("handing out supplies"), that's logistics on a Wal-Mart or U.S. Army scale. It takes a while to get the wheels in motion, and then you still have do to it right. Because the Red Cross is almost all volunteer-run, it's not always perfect and things don't always work the way they should. But I've seen bulk distribution from the warehouse, shelter and ERV end, and we usually get the kinks worked out eventually.

Also keep in mind that most deployments only last 2-3 weeks. So you're basically setting up a multimillion dollar company in a couple of weeks, then getting a completely new staff (including management) every 14-21 days. Which is free but not easy.

Yes, it's a lot of money, but disaster relief is expensive. It's really, really expensive. Try renting 100 cars immediately after a disaster sometime. Try buying food for 30,000 people. Try issuing preloaded debit cards for 1000 volunteers, finding them a safe place to stay in a disaster area, and then buying them plane tickets. Basically you have to turn the money spigot on and not turn it off for 3-12 months.

There is literally no way the Red Cross could "be there" at scale in the first week/s of a disaster. Even we were there, you might not see us. Your community has to be able to take care of itself for that long, because nobody else is going to be able to get in. Once they're there, it takes around a week to be operational. So what this person did is what you should do, but this person has already gone back to their daily life. That's where the Red Cross steps in. From the Red Cross perspective, this disaster isn't over. It's just beginning.

You may not be the biggest fan of the ARC, or the biggest fan of this model of disaster relief.That's perfectly respectable, and you should consider donating to the Southern Baptists (great kitchens) or the Salvation Army (which has their own ERVs). But to imply that the Red Cross is stealing the money because they're not fully deployed yet reflects a poor understanding of the Red Cross and the challenges of large scale disaster relief operations. And any other major org is going to face the same challenges in the early days/weeks of a disaster.

TL;DR The correspondent is mad at the Red Cross for not being able to do impossible things.

/The National Guard is not an all-volunteer charitable organization. Of course they were there first.
// If you'd like to help (and see what really happens to all that money), get in touch with your local chapter. There is a lot to do locally even if you can't deploy. And it doesn't cost you anything except some time.
/// Above is my personal opinion and perspective as a private citizen, not the opinion of the Red Cross.
2012-11-29 01:48:02 PM  
3 votes:
floor of my house was destroyed in Sandy (Long Beach NY)

Saw the Red Cross once, who asked if I needed food (which the Natl Guard was distributing). Not blankets or anything like that.

The Natl Guard, however, has been Johnny-on-the-spot during the whole ordeal, starting the day after the storm.

DO NOT GIVE TO RED CROSS.
2012-11-29 01:15:20 PM  
3 votes:
Summary of the article: "I didn't personally see the Red Cross while I was out being (if I do say so myself) so super, but humbly, awesome. Therefore, because I have some unsourced comments about why I didn't personally see them, they did nearly nothing at all."

Certainly, this is journalism at its finest.
2012-11-29 09:50:44 AM  
3 votes:
You need $150 million to send fat bureaucrats off to "conferences" at five star hotels and resorts where there's plenty of rich food and drink.

That's how you truly help the needy.
2012-11-29 01:40:56 PM  
2 votes:

Amos Quito: themasterdebater: Sorry, did someone forget that a non-profit is a business like every other business?


Actually, the non-profits tend to be much more profitable.


Ab-so-farkin'-lutely.

Don't believe us? Go to your local non-profit, especially something like a state-supported school. Pull their IRS Form 990. Check out the salaries for the folks at the top.
2012-11-29 01:07:17 PM  
2 votes:
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.
2012-11-30 02:16:12 AM  
1 votes:

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.
2012-11-29 04:19:45 PM  
1 votes:

Kencyr: That's the way the Red Cross operates. The key is preparedness: Have all the necessary equipment and supplies ready in advance of the disaster. Use the money from the previous disaster relief fund-raisers for this event and use the money gathered by Sandy fund-raisers for the next (and future) events.

//Wonders how many times he's read this article in some format or another.


i483.photobucket.com
Because if you would have actually read TFA you'd know that this is about the Red Cross collecting money for the next disaster and doing next to nothing for the people who suffer in this one. Reminds me of the Red Cross 9-11 funds that went to the Red Cross...and stayed there.
2012-11-29 03:28:16 PM  
1 votes:
Do your research, folks. My money goes to St. Jude Children s Hospital.
2012-11-29 02:08:10 PM  
1 votes:
Do your research, folks. My money goes to the Salvation Army.
2012-11-29 01:17:49 PM  
1 votes:
Apparently many contributors didn't get the memo where it states over 90% of all monies collected are used to support the infrastructure of Red Cross offices keeping track of the things the other Red Cross offices do in a whirling dervish of paper pushing and office parties.
2012-11-29 01:09:31 PM  
1 votes:
After every major disaster, it's same thing. Send $10 to 90blahblahblah...then the money never gets to the victims in a timely manner (if at all).

It happened during 9/11, the Indian Ocean tsunami, Hurricane Katrina, the Fukushima earthquake/tsunami...what made anyone think Superstorm Sandy would be any different?

Yes, I know the logistics of getting aid into a disaster area is somewhat complicated...but c'mon, it's the same damn gong show every time!
2012-11-29 01:01:49 PM  
1 votes:
$ 150,000,000 and I'm GETTING MUTHERFARKING GREEN BEANS??!?!?!
/MF-ERS better be serving LOBSTERS!!!
2012-11-29 01:01:43 PM  
1 votes:

maddogdelta: Wow... there is a whole lot of stupid in this thread....

let's see... Storm is coming, what do we do? do we send aid to people right now and pay for that with funds we have right now? Well, that is how the Red Cross usually does business.

After the storm hits, people send money.Great! But the RC already paid for the aid they sent to Sandy victims. What do they do?

use the cash to pay for the next emergency you farking retards!



Except the article clearly states that while in the disaster area he did not see the original expenditure.
2012-11-29 12:59:37 PM  
1 votes:
Wow... there is a whole lot of stupid in this thread....

let's see... Storm is coming, what do we do? do we send aid to people right now and pay for that with funds we have right now? Well, that is how the Red Cross usually does business.

After the storm hits, people send money.Great! But the RC already paid for the aid they sent to Sandy victims. What do they do?

use the cash to pay for the next emergency you farking retards!
2012-11-29 12:57:49 PM  
1 votes:
But Obama is going to give everyone everything they need!
2012-11-29 10:12:31 AM  
1 votes:
I hear they're charging for donuts again.
2012-11-29 09:54:11 AM  
1 votes:
But they're trying really really hard, until they figure out a way that money will just sit in our bank account.
2012-11-29 09:46:16 AM  
1 votes:
Obvious tag displaced by Sandy?
 
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