RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - After weeks of donations to Haiti relief and almost $500,000 raised locally, The American Red Cross is shifting its focus. It's now asking the public to open up their wallets and help the Richmond region.
The goal is to raise $600,000 by the end of June. Bill Harrison of the Metro Richmond American Red Cross says he's confident they'll get it.
"When you lose your home to fire it's your Haiti it's your 9/11," said Harrison. "And we see that happen every day of the week here at the Red Cross."
Last year the regional American Red Cross helped 3,000 victims of fire. Forty percent of them were children.
Most recently, the American Red Cross helped 8 adults and 2 children displaced by a fire at the New Bridge apartments in Henrico.
"If the Red Cross wasn't there during these time who would be," said Harrison.
Last December, dozens of elderly residents were in the safe hands of the American Red Cross volunteers when their Chesterfield Square apartment complex broke out in flames.
"We're the ones who are there at 3 in the morning when there's a house fire and you have no food, you have no bed to sleep in, the Red Cross volunteers is there," said Harrison.
Harrison says giving is easy; it's the receiving part, that's been tough during these trying times.
"The economy obviously is hard hit on all non-profits, we've taken a United Way cut and then Haiti hit, so the Red Cross is facing a challenge here," he said.
To reach its goal of $600,000, the Red Cross is launching a new fundraiser called Hero's Campaign. Anyone can sign up to become a hero and raise a thousand dollars for the American Red Cross. Harrison says he's seen kid's raise the money through bake sales and other's even send out mass emails to all their friends asking each of them for $20 dollars.
To donate call the American reds cross at 780-2250 or log on to www.greaterrichmond.redcross. org and become a hero. The campaign started today and runs through the end of March.