Relief Agencies: Stay the Course

The Wiregrass chapter of the American Red Cross continues to serve the clients it received since Katrina, but since it looks like no more are coming, the few that do knock on their door will be encouraged to call a 1-800 number, "to keep the smaller, rural chapter from becoming inundated," said Susan Holmes, Executive Director of the agency's local chapter. "Every chapter is not set up to be a service center. The large service centers were placed closer to the evacuees to help them efficiently there."

But that doesn't mean the Red Cross doesn't need your help anymore, especially with another hurricane around the corner. Holmes asks that locals donate to the national disaster relief fund so that, "we may serve victims of this or any other disaster."

The Red Cross focuses mostly on getting victims what they need to survive, so the local chapter called upon another agency, the Wiregrass Christian Relief Effort, to pick up where they leave off.

"They asked us to figure out how to get these people integrated into the community," said Jack Burkhalter, an active member of the 80-church coalition. "Help people get back home, or get reconnected with family, plus a lot of these folks are here to stay."

The agency has helped some 160 families, though it was formed at the spur of the moment, using all volunteers with little or no training, and with a budget that's never exceeded $5,000. Today, that budget is at $1,500. Burkhalter said "it might last a day or two and its not nearly enough to carry out this mission.

The Wiregrass Christian Relief Effort is asking for cash, and if you don’t have that, donate appliances that are in good condition.

You can write a check to Wiregrass Christian Relief Effort, and send it to:
617 Westgate Parkway
Dothan, AL 36303

You can also log onto

If you want to help the local Red Cross, you can call 792-9852. You can ask that your donation be spent locally.