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Red Cross steps up when you are down and out

The American Red Cross is a humanitarian organization that provides emergency assistance, disaster relief and education in the United States.

“We prepare all the time for natural disaster,” said Samantha Noble disaster program manager for the El Paso area chapter.

From small house fires to multistate natural disasters, the American Red Cross goes wherever it’s needed, so people can have clean water, safe shelter and hot meals when they need them most.

“We do have our direct-line assistance program which is based off individual client-based need,” Noble said, “That is a national standard as far as the funding for each case.”

The multimillion-dollar organization operates fully on donations.

The El Paso chapter operates on a $7 million budget, but shares with Arizona and New Mexico.

“We have opened 54 cases for our fiscal year to date, that includes the home fires, flash flooding or power outages due to high windstorms,” Noble said.

The organization categorizes each disaster based on the severity to determine how much money will be given to the person or family.

The three include: if the house is livable, how many family members are in the home and if lodging is needed.

The El Paso chapter gives $125 per person living in the household that is not livable. If the home is livable, it gives $50 per person living in the house.

“The lodging is lumped around four people, which helps cover a few days in a hotel so they can start the road to recovery” Noble said. Lodging is $170 per four people.

Noble told ABC-7 the cap for each case is $3,000.

“It would be never ending and we all want to do more in making sure everyone is ok and recovering, but that is difficult to do for every person,” Noble said. “We want to make sure we are providing consistent services, so we do have those bumpers.”

The cards given to those affected are coded for specific non-use. “We don’t want them to accidentally buy something they are not suppose to and have the card turned off,” Noble said. “You can’t buy tobacco, alcohol, drugs or weapons with the cards.”

The Red Cross is always looking for volunteers and donations.

April 7 the El Paso Chapter will be hosting a “Salute to Service Fundraising Bash: at the Wyndham hotel.

For more information on how to volunteer visit the Red Cross website.

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