Facing an anticipated year-end deficit of about $14,000, the Pecan Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross is making a neighborly plea for donations.
“We’re making a neighbor-to-neighbor plea that we need funds to survive, and we’re getting response, but it’s slow — slow coming,” chapter assistant Terri Kaye Burross said.
Executive Director Minessa Mesic, reviewing chapter records going back to 1993, said there were no deficits in those records as large as the current one.
“We typically end a year with a small surplus,” Mesic said. The chapter’s fiscal year is July 1-June 30.
That hasn’t always been the case. Last year ended with a $3,800 deficit, and 2002 ended with a $9,600 deficit, Mesic said.
The current budget is about $102,000. The chapter’s board recently approved a $110,000 for the new fiscal year, Mesic said.
She said the deficit on May 31 was $18,553, but it should prove to be a somewhat smaller deficit — about $14,000 — when she brings June’s books forward.
The deficit will be somewhat smaller because the chapter recently received its quarterly United Way allocation and the chapter is beginning to get responses from letters to donors, Mesic said.
Earlier this month, the chapter began sending letters to donors in Brown, Mills and San Saba counties. The letters state that the chapter “is in true jeopardy of having to close its doors.”
“Our small … organization’s mission to serve our area is being challenged due to extremely low donor revenues,” the letters state.
The chapter’s funds come from private donations, local foundations, the United Way and fees for educational courses such as swimming and CPR, Mesic said.
Private donations are down, Mesic said, and that’s likely because national disasters over the past six years have taken donors’ attention away from local needs.
The letters to donors listed the local Red Cross services:
Responds to local disasters such as fires and flood. Supports local fire departments. Trains volunteers in emergency preparedness. Sends messages to members of the Armed Forces and their families worldwide. Teaches first aid and CPR classes. Provides swimming lessons and lifeguard training classes.
The chapter aided seven families who were temporarily displaced by last weekend’s street flooding, Mesic said.
The chapter spent about $1,200 to put them up in motels, she said.
“Nothing we do on the local level gets paid by our national headquarters,” Mesic said. “We live and die locally.”
Two paid staff members — Mesic and Burross, who is half-time — and about 60 volunteers keep the chapter running.