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Local Red Cross forced to downsize
Mary DuVall, a volunteer at the American Red Cross office on Jesse Jewell Parkway, packs boxes for the organization’s move to a new administrative office at the old Lanier Park hospital campus. - photo by Tom Reed

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Call it a sign of the times.

The Northeast Georgia chapter of the American Red Cross is moving its offices from the brick building at Mule Camp Springs to a spot on the old Lanier Park hospital campus — a move that will help the local organization continue its mission on a smaller budget.

Already, the chapter has closed small offices in Toccoa, Cornelia and Dawsonville, and on March 29, the operations for those areas and Gainesville will be headquartered at 675 White Sulphur Road, Reed said.

The offices in Cumming, Jasper and Blairsville will remain as they are, and training classes sponsored by the Red Cross will still be held in Toccoa, Cornelia and Dawsonville.

The changes will allow the organization “to operate more efficiently and be good stewards of our donors’ contributions in the current economy,” Executive Director Philip Reed said.

For at least the next couple of years, the organization’s blood donation center will stay put at the site on Jesse Jewell Parkway, Reed said, but the organization’s administrative offices are downsizing along with others in the area.

“It just makes good sense in this economy to consolidate some of our offices,” he said.

Although more than $60,000 was donated to Haiti earthquake victims through the Northeast Georgia chapter for International Red Cross, overall, donations for the chapter have been down with the economy, Reed said.

“Businesses and individuals have had less money to donate, and therefore, donations have decreased,” he said. “We still have many loyal donors, some of whom give less or give less frequently.”

The location at the Lanier Park hospital campus is a better deal than the current space, Reed said. But administrative changes won’t be visible to donors or clients in Northeast Georgia, he said, aside from the new address.

“Just like the local governments, businesses and individuals, we have to respond to the economy and be efficient in how we deliver services with our donor dollars,” Reed said.