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Red Cross prepares to kick off “Heroes” campaign

Red Cross personnel met on Tuesday with Poplarville, Picayune and county officials at the Pearl River County Emergency Operations Center in Poplarville to discuss the upcoming “Heroes for the American Red Cross” campaign.

Raemona Welder, director of Strategic Development for the Red Cross, said the Heroes campaign will kick off on at 9 a.m. Tuesday, April 1, at the EOC. The campaign will last two weeks, and will conclude at Resurrection Life Church in Picayune at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 19.

“When the campaign ends, in the following Sunday’s paper, we will place an ad with the pictures of all our Heroes, and recognize our contributors to the campaign,” Welder said.

John Myers, Picayune Public Relations spokesman, said one of the main goals of the campaign is to put the Red Cross in a more positive light in Pearl River County.

“After Hurricane Katrina, a lot of people weren’t pleased with the Red Cross. We are wanting to change the Red Cross’s image in the county. We want to help people. Any money we raise in Pearl River County during this campaign stays in Pearl River County,” Myers said.

Myers said the goal for this year is $10,000, and that people wanting to be involved in the campaign can come up with many creative ways to raise the money.

“The world is out there. All you have to do is just think of something,” Myers said.

Welder said that during the span of 2006-2007, the Red Cross spent $28,815.22 in Pearl River County, helping a total of 51 families.

Bob Beebe, also of the Red Cross, said most donations go towards helping families obtain shelter, clothing and food after they suffer the loss of those items in home fires.

“The first thing we do is obtain shelter for them, usually a hotel stay for two or three days. After that, we then get them clothing and money for a week’s supply of food. We also have assistance cards, which are prepaid credit cards that we don’t load until we know what a family’s needs are,” Beebe said.

Welder said she would like to get local schools involved, and said she is working to contact the local superintendents of the three districts in the county to achieve that goal.

“All we have to do is get one person — one student, one teacher, one principal — and the sky is the limit,” Welder said.

Anyone interested in donating or becoming a Red Cross Hero can contact Welder at (228) 896-4511, or rwelder@redcross-msgc.org, or Myers at (601) 798-9770 or picpubrelations@bellsouth.net.