United Way gives additional $10,000 to local Red Cross

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 31, 2017

By Amanda Raymond


SALISBURY — Families across Rowan County depend on the American Red Cross to help them while they get back on their feet after a disaster. This time, the Rowan County United Way was there to help the local Red Cross in its time of need.

The United Way board of directors recently approved $10,000 in emergency funding to the local Red Cross chapter.

The Red Cross is one of 16 community agencies supported by the United Way.

Shelia Crunkelton, executive director of the Southern Piedmont Chapter of the American Red Cross, said the agency exceeded its United Way budget for this fiscal year in December. The United Way fiscal year runs from March 1 to Feb. 28.

Crunkelton said the Red Cross has had to respond to more emergency situations in Rowan County than ever before.

“We had so many fires that we responded to,” she said.

Some of those fires were in apartment buildings and large houses, which means more people needed help at once.

When the United Way learned that the Red Cross needed extra help, the board of directors decided to step in.

Denise Hallett, president of the board, said the United Way set aside emergency funding years ago for situations such as this. Hallett said United Way did not have to use emergency fund money last year, but in years past it has used it after major layoffs to provide additional funding to agencies that help with things such as bill-paying assistance.

Crunkelton said the Red Cross’ main goal is to provide a safe place to stay and money to buy basic essentials, including food and clothing, after individuals or families have gone through a disaster like a fire. After the essentials are provided for, a caseworker meets with the family to determine additional needs. The Red Cross can help pay for rent and utilities or help replace essential medications.

The response is 90 percent volunteer-led and occurs within seven days of a fire, usually the same day, Crunkelton said.

Hallett said the additional funding will help the Red Cross continue to provide emergency assistance to Rowan County.

“What this does is it makes it a whole lot less stressful for someone,” Hallett said.

The more money raised in the United Way’s fundraising campaign, Hallett said, the more the United Way can give to organizations like the Red Cross and others that provide short- and long-term assistance.

Crunkelton said the United Way is a key partner for funding the disaster relief budget.

“They are truly supporting disaster relief in their community,” she said.

Contact reporter Amanda Raymond at 704-797-4222.