They were granted a slight reprieve, but the Brainerd office of the American Red Cross still needs to raise $10,000 by Jan. 21 in order to keep its doors open.
Aaron Graber, area representative for the Brainerd office, said the North Star Chapter of the American Red Cross previously required his office to raise $40,000 in donations by the end of 2008 to remain open. However, the deadline has now changed and the chapter set a more realistic goal for the Brainerd office, said Graber. The office now needs to raise half of that, or $20,000, by Jan. 21 in order for the office to stay open. Graber said they've received a little more than $10,000 in donations since their plea went out to the public a few weeks ago.
"We're hustling here, we're calling people, talking to businesses and asking if they'd be willing to help out and we've tried to find organizations that would like to help out," said Graber. "It's been pretty rough with the whole economy heading south."
Graber said the $20,000 goal, if reached, would keep the office up and running through the end of the fiscal year in June. In June the annual Ride for the Red event will hopefully raise about $18,000 to $20,000, which would keep the doors open at the Red Cross office through 2009.
"We're still optimistic," said Graber. "We know it's been a tough year but we hope people will come through. The Red Cross does a lot more than people realize during emergencies and disasters."
The Brainerd Red Cross office services residents in Crow Wing and Wadena counties and the southern half of Cass County. The North Star Chapter, which includes the Brainerd office, serves residents in nine counties and has two offices. The main office is in Bemidji.
Those interested in helping to raise funds for the Red Cross and need more information or fundraising ideas may contact Graber at the Red Cross office at 829-4004.
Those interested in sending a donation may mail it to the Red Cross office at 2029 S. Sixth St., Brainerd, MN 56401.
JODIE TWEED may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5858.
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