Streams

Red Cross has Millions in Unspent Donations After Sandy

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

WNYC
Red Cross volunteers in Breezy Point, a month after Hurricane Sandy hit the area offering metal health assistance to local residents. Red Cross volunteers in Breezy Point, a month after Hurricane Sandy hit the area offering metal health assistance to local residents. (Stephen Nessen/WNYC)

The Red Cross has raked in $303 million in donations since Sandy struck the region last October, but the organization has only spent two-thirds of that, leaving $111 million in its coffers.

"As we have seen with other disasters, recovery is a marathon, not a sprint," Sam Kille, a Red Cross spokesman, said.

But some critics say the organization should've spent its millions during the winter, when many Sandy-damaged homes went without heat or electricity.

After the storm, many claimed the Red Cross arrived too late and did too little--handing out comfort kits filled with basic supplies. The organization said that's how it responds to the immediate aftermath of disasters. The Red Cross said since Sandy it has served more than 17.5 million meals and snacks and provided more than 7 million relief items, like cold weather clothes and cleaning supplies.

"We understand that some people believe we should spend these funds more quickly, but we also need to spend donor dollars as wisely and carefully as we can," Kille said in a statement, adding its Katrina efforts last five years. 

Updated 5:45 p.m. with comments from Red Cross regarding number of relief supplies.

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Comments [2]

Upset

The Red Cross was terrible in our Sandy-stricken neighborhood. They had no clue what supplies were needed, and gave out the most disgusting meals that I feel they have nerve claiming them in their statistics. People kept refusing them, only asking for the cookies or chips that came pre-packaged so they could not ruin them. Their excuse was that it was the end of a busy year and they did not have enough $$ for good food! Never ever will I donate to them.

May. 29 2013 10:51 PM

They used this same excuse after the Haiti earthquake -- when thousands of people were still lacking basic necessities like clean water and a safe place to sleep. After I found out about their mismanagement of the Haiti contributions, I decided not to donate to them again.

May. 29 2013 07:14 AM

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