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Open Letter to American Red Cross regarding Katrina "Means to Recovery" Funds


Open Letter to Red Cross and to Survivors: Katrina Donations Withheld

There is a palpable aura of anticipation here: we’re all waiting for one thing. To see if the donations given to the American Red Cross (among others) in the name of Katrina assistance will finally filter down to help you.

In all $4.25 billion was donated to charities for Katrina relief. It was the largest outpouring of support in history. As we’ve come to know, most of the money went to The American Red Cross: $2.3 billion (source Mark W. Everson, head of Red Cross).

Pat Rimmer, senior public affairs associate for the Southeast Service Area Headquarters for the Red Cross has publicly stated: “We wanted to make sure that our donors know we’re being responsible with their money.”

Those of you who have endured horrific losses as a result of Hurricane Katrina know the truth about the “help” you’ve received, know first-hand the indignities you’ve suffered in your attempts to find this help; and within your raging hearts can tell donors (both in America and abroad) HELP has not reached you.

I have publicly stated that Katrina is “The most devastating and most underserved catastrophe this nation has silently witnessed" [Kirby Sommers’ Press Release for Katrina Home Drive January/2007.]

I will tell you today, I promise you today: IT IS SILENT NO MORE!

The American Red Cross relies on donor support, or they cannot exist. Donors worldwide are now hearing about this most disgraceful chapter in the history of American charities.

Donors will withdraw their support of the American Red Cross when they learn how the Red Cross has systematically turned their backs on the continued suffering of Katrina survivors across the country.

The Red Cross has publicly stated they “held back $193 million for hurricane recovery” (source: Kay Wilkins, Red Cross). ONE HUNDRED NINETY THREE MILLION DOLLARS! Out of which only $12 million has been used in assistance through Means to Recovery since the program was launched on October 1, 2006.

Despite recent inaccurate statements made by the Red Cross claiming they “went door to door” with information about this program – we all know the money was KEPT A SECRET until Katrina Home Drive, via it’s founder, Ms. Kirby Sommers, made the information public and the Red Cross found itself forced to talk about Means to Recovery.

I say this to the American Red Cross via several press outlets and in this open letter:

1. Go back to the original $193 million dollars you’ve set aside for “hurricane recovery.”
2. Add to that the $25 million you redirected from Kuwait for your internal infrastructure.
3. You now have a total of $218 million dollars.
4. Subtract the paltry $12 million spent to date via the Means to Recovery program, and there should be $202 million left.
5. Give this money to those in whose name it was given to you: KATRINA SURVIVORS!!

Furthermore, remove the $20,000 cap per family – you’ve already changed it from $10,000 per family; so amend this program in a way that it will reach as many individuals and families who remain in dire need of HELP!

Two years later, we’re still on EMERGENCY MODE! If The American Red Cross cannot see this, then I suggest you reconsider your “recovery relief” operations and perhaps outsource this to an agency that cares about human suffering and relief.

Know this: All your donors are being contacted; all you misdeeds are being broadcasted!!

It’s time to stop behaving like Enron and more like the public charity that you are meant to be. Katrina Home Drive has approximately 1,500 families in need. I’d like to hand these cases to you and know you will take care of them.

Good stewards of other people’s money, you are not. But, if you respond immediately to this, you may be able to salvage just more than your already tarnished reputation: you may be able to save LIVES!


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