Advocate editorial board opinion: We should help those who help us

By the Advocate Editorial Board
April 27, 2011 at 7:01 p.m.
Updated April 26, 2011 at 11:27 p.m.

Our community has a reputation for being ready to help anybody when a need arises. In particular, the Red Cross is an organization that uses charitable giving to help people who have experienced a loss because of a catastrophe, including floods, fires, storms and more.

And now our local chapter of the Red Cross needs us.

With that said, the Red Cross has been really busy this year. Lanell Mantey, executive director of the local chapter, said just four months into the year, Victoria has had more than 35 fires in which assistance was provided. By comparison, the Red Cross assisted in 46 fires during the entire year of 2010.

We have to wonder why there has been this dramatic increase.

"It's hard to tell. A lot of the fires are electrical. It may be that 50 percent of them are because of weather conditions, people burning trash or something outside the houses that cause the fires. Aging electrical wiring is a problem," Mantey said.

Victoria County Fire Marshal Ron Pray said the cause of the numerous fires is a mix of random reasons: "carelessness, electrical, accidental, unlucky."

"The Crossroads has just had an unfortunate run with numerous fires the past four months, and it has had a taxing effect on firefighters and organizations like the Red Cross," Pray said.

Regardless of the causes, the Red Cross is there to help when disaster strikes and people lose their homes.

"We provide two nights in a hotel, food vouchers and clothes vouchers - all money that makes it a couple of days of living," Mantey said. She has said the cost of assistance for a family of four on average is about $1,000.

The Red Cross also networks for families in need so they can get other services.

The United Way and donated money from the community is the primary source of funding the Red Cross receives. But the organization will be hurting if the frequency of fires continues.

That's why we think it is important to contribute now to our Red Cross, which provides assistance to five other counties besides Victoria: DeWitt, Jackson, Lavaca, Calhoun and Goliad.

Mantey said donors should know that even $10 goes a long way to help victims of disasters.

For example, $3 buys one comfort kit containing hygiene items, including deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, facial tissues, washcloth, shampoo, liquid soap, lotion, comb, razor and shaving cream.

We urge you to make donations to our local Red Cross. Let's keep assistance at hand for victims of disasters by keeping the Red Cross strong and ready.

This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.



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