Red Cross, United Way thank community for post-Sept. 11 response

First, we want to thank everyone in our community for the tremendous response to volunteer, give blood or make contributions toward the relief efforts after the worst terrorist attacks in history. "Overwhelming" probably best describes whole experiences -- the attacks themselves, the almost unfathomable level of death and devastation they caused, and the heroic and generous responses of individuals eager to help.

Within moments of the attacks on New York and Washington, D.C. the American Red Cross, United Way, and other agencies responded. Over the last month these organizations and volunteers from across the country, including Muncie, continued to serve thousands of victims, their families and relief workers. At the same time, millions of Americans gave to the Red Cross, the United Way and other relief agencies in the greatest wave of generosity our country has ever seen.

The outpouring of generosity to the American Red Cross funneled through the Hoosier Hearland Chapter (serving Blackford, Delawre, Jay and Randolph counties) has been incredible. The residents of East Central Indiana have already contributed more than $100,000 to the National Liberty Disaster Relief Fund (to aid new York, Washington, D.C., Pennsylvania), and many area businesses are still collecting. Your contributions are providing direct assistance of food, shelter, mental health counseling, cash grants to the victims' families, and much, much more to the affected areas.

United Way of Delaware County and the Community Foundation of Muncie and Delaware County made a joint contribution of $35,000 to the Sept. 11 Fund on behalf of all the residents of Delaware County, especially those who cannot make a monetary contribution to the relief efforts. The first time either organization has made a grant outside of Delaware County. And contributions to the Sept. 11 Fund continue to come in locally with 100 percent being forwarded to relief efforts.

As we move forward in a changed world we must also remember that the needs in our local community still exist. Families need help with childcare, fire victims need help rebuilding their lives, elderly residents need nutritious meals, and affordable healthcare will beneeded for those without insurance. United Way and its 27 agencies are there to serve our community's needs.

The United Way campaign kicked off a week before the attacks. We used the campaign theme "Doing Good Works." It certainly applies to the generosity this community has shown during the last month in its giving to organizations involved with relief efforts. It also applies to the more than 200 volunteers who came out and helped with our Day of Caring projects.

Your annual contribution to United Way of Delaware County maintains the community-wide infrastructure that allows our agencies to respond to emergencies in Delaware County, and offer assistance to those around the country. We hope the events of the past weeks will redouble the efforts of individuals and organizations around the United Way campaign. Many of our agencies responded immediately because of the generous workplace giving in our community. These events also remind us that if a disaster strikes Muncie or Indiana we will respond in the same effective and proactive way.

We ask that everyone work to strengthen our community by giving to this year's annual United Way campaign. To paraphrase an official of the World Trade Center, "the stronger we make our local communities -- the stronger our nation will be as a whole." It is our hope citizens will see the importance of continuing to meet the day to day needs of those living right here in East Central Indiana.

Gina Godsey Bradburn, American Red Cross

Pam Horton-Jones, United Way


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