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Red Cross group seeks to rekindle founding spirit
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Red Cross of Northeast Georgia

Office: 675 White Sulphur Road, Suite 230

Mailing address: P.O. Box 3370, Gainesville, GA 30503-3370

Phone: 770-532-8453

E-mail: chapter@negaredcross.org

Website: www.negaredcross.org

The Red Cross is going back to its roots.

The organization recently announced the formation of the 1917 Society, a chapter club that will support and help build the efforts of the Northeast Georgia chapter of the American Red Cross.

“Our vision is to sort of extend the reach of our Red Cross chapter by bringing together women in the community who support the critical humanitarian mission of the American Red Cross,” Executive Director Philip Reed said.

Reed said like many nonprofit organizations, the Red Cross has been hurt by the recession.

“We’re in an economy where businesses and individuals don’t have the discretionary income that they traditionally have out of which you go on vacation and give to charities,” Reed said. “Contributions across the whole nation to charitable institutions are down. We’re just trying to stretch dollars as far as we can but also be innovative in how we develop the resources to continue to provide the help we do.”

Reed said the Red Cross responded to 161 house fires in Northeast Georgia last year alone.

“Whether or not people donate, we’re going to have those fires and those floods and those kinds of things, not to mention the larger things like the flooding in Tennessee,” Reed said. “We need to find other ways to both get donations and recruit volunteers and connect with partners.”

The 1917 Society was named for the year Gainesville women formed the local chapter of the American Red Cross.

The women worked together to raise money, roll bandages for soldiers, train residents in first aid and CPR. They also helped local families when their homes were destroyed by fire, floods or storms.

Reed said the goal of the 1917 Society is to rekindle that spirit the founders had in Northeast Georgia today.

“Some of these folks have been past volunteers with the American Red Cross, some of these folks are decedents of founders from 1917 of the chapter here, and some are just folks in the community who want to see us extend our capacity and extend our reach,” Reed said. “Hopefully over the next couple of months we’ll put together some leadership for such a group and let them determine exactly how they may want to be involved with helping us.”

Reed said the 1917 Society is aimed at women because it was women who founded the Northeast Georgia Chapter as well as a woman, Clara Barton, who founded the American Red Cross.

“They’ll be able to help us in whatever ways they can best help us,” Reed said. “It’s friend-raising for the chapter in an attempt to get more people to understand what we do and how we do it.”

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