Tuesday, June 7, 2011

June 8th Televised Fund Drive

The record rainfall experienced throughout this spring may have overflowed the banks of local rivers and lakes, but it has drained the coffers of the Vermont & the New Hampshire Valley American Red Cross. The devastation has been widespread and the need is great. Locally, the Red Cross has met the call for help each time and now it is time to fund those relief efforts.

FOX 44 and ABC 22 approached the Red Cross locally with a plan as to how they and their viewers could help. The result is that from 5pm – 11pm on Wednesday, June 8th, across both stations, an appeal will appear across the bottom of the screen letting viewers know how they can support Red Cross disaster relief. In addition, integrated into Wednesday evening’s programming will be public service announcements, news footage and live interviews. Viewers will see the impact on those affected by recent disasters, gain an understanding of the work of the Vermont & the New Hampshire Valley American Red Cross and be asked to make a donation.

“For weeks our news people have been reporting on one disaster after another in Vermont. Telling our viewers the story just didn’t seem to be enough,” said Vic Vetters, FOX 44/ABC 22 Vice President. “We want to give them an opportunity to help the Red Cross. So, using our airwaves to raise some donations just seemed the right thing to do,” he added.

With a generous pledge of $10,000.00 for a challenge grant, New England Federal Credit Union has stepped forward to partner with the Red Cross to make the evening a success. “As a community-based financial institution, we are proud to do our share to help our neighbors recover from these terrible floods,” said John Dwyer, NEFCU President and CEO. Serving 79,000 members in the 6 northwestern counties of Vermont, NEFCU is well aware of the impact on those affected by recent events. During a defined portion of the evening, viewers will be challenged to donate $10,000.00, triggering the NEFCU gift.

A phone bank in the Vermont Public Television studios will be staffed by volunteers who will take donor calls and help to track the evening’s tally. The phone services, staff and equipment provided at VPT, just as they are at FOX 44/ABC 22, are being generously supplied to the American Red Cross at no cost.

“This Spring caps an extraordinary year for the Vermont & the New Hampshire Valley American Red Cross,” said regional Red Cross executive Larry Crist. “Before this rash of spring disasters, we had already responded at a rate that well exceeded our average. Then, in just the past seven weeks, our area has experienced three disasters of size not seen in over five years,” he added.

The Vermont & the New Hampshire Valley American Red Cross has experienced a year where the funds allocated for disaster assistance were exceeded by the end of March, with three months left in the organization’s fiscal year. The non-profit is now facing the prospect of providing continued disaster relief in connection with the spring flooding that could, ultimately, cost the Red Cross $200,000.00 - $300,000.00.

In addition to NEFCU’s primary sponsorship of the June 8th fund drive, additional community partners include sponsors Casella Waste Management, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont and Vermont Telephone.

All emergency assistance provided by the American Red Cross is provided without charge and is made possible by donations from fellow community members. To help those in our region who have been affected by disaster, tune in to the fund drive from 5pm to 11pm on FOX 44 and ABC 22 or, as always, you can go to our website, http://www.redcrossvtnhuv.org to make a donation.