Red Cross seeks volunteers, financial aid

Ryan Haidet

Although Hurricane Katrina’s wrath affected southern states, there are things Kent State students can do locally to help the relief effort.

Sarah Hallsky, a graduate assistant at the DeWeese Health Center, is asking students to donate money at the health center, which will be given to the Portage County Red Cross for hurricane victims.

For those who can’t afford to give money, current Red Cross volunteers hope that time can be donated for fund raising efforts.

“We would really like Kent State students to become involved at the Portage County Red Cross because they will walk away a better person,” said Ida Hamilton, a Red Cross Disaster Assistance Team volunteer in Portage County. “Anytime you help somebody else in need, you walk away feeling better about yourself and you get the satisfaction that you are giving people a better life.”

For information about volunteering in Portage County, call (330) 296-9991 or visit

The American Red Cross is accepting monetary donations for hurricane victims at by clicking on the link that says “Donate Now.” Donations can also be made over the phone by calling 1-800-HELP-NOW. Along with those options, donations can be made in person or by mail to any American Red Cross location.

Although hurricane victims are in need of all the basic essentials, the Red Cross is not encouraging anything other than monetary donations for various reasons. According to their Web site, they do not have the time or money to transport these items to the victims.

It’s cheaper for them to buy It’s cheaper for them to buy the items near the location of the disaster.

“We don’t want to discourage people who want to help,” said Amanda Lepof, an American Red Cross In-Kind Officer, on the American Red Cross Web site last week. “But making a financial gift to support the relief operations really is the best way for people to help after a disaster like this.”

The Red Cross is recommending that donations of food, water and clothing be given to local organizations that would have the time and expenses to deal with those items locally, according to their Web site.

Since the hurricane, millions of dollars in donations for victims of the disaster have been raised through various organizations.

Hamilton is pleased with the generosity of people that she has seen so far. However, more money is greatly needed.

“Every dollar helps. Every nickel helps,” Hamilton said.

The Red Cross held an event at Blossom Music Center on Sunday that raised $2,500, Hamilton said.

“Children were bringing their allowances to us in baggies,” Hamilton said. “They were giving us the change from their piggy banks. It was touching to see this.”

Hamilton stressed one final thing, “When (the Red Cross) goes out on these kinds of things, be it a flood, a fire or whatever, it makes me feel good because I know that I’ve made a difference in the client’s life. By that, I’ve made my life a little bit better.” She hopes others will take up the opportunity to gain an experience like hers.

Contact health reporter Ryan Haidet at [email protected].