The Delaware County Chapter of the Red Cross kicked off its annual month-long fundraiser Friday, February 27th at the Lighthouse Grill in Grove.

Red Cross volunteer and hero Tammy Warren, of Jay, told the gathering of about 20 people, “You find your compassionate side when you join the Red Cross.”

Service Center Director Tammie J. Lewis reminded attendees that all the money raised in Delaware County stays in the county.

Most of the funds are spent to help local fire victims.

Last year the Red Cross responded to 30 house fires in Delaware County, paying a total of $29,249.49 to provide comfort, shelter and assistance to families who had just lost their homes.

Lewis said that, unlike many counties across the United States, Delaware County pays for itself.

“Some counties struggle to find the resources,” Lewis said. “But Delaware County residents have big hearts.”

Throughout the month of March, the Red Cross be hosting a variety of educational activities and raising funds to help the communities of Delaware, Ottawa and Craig counties.

Community members who wish to help may become Red Cross “heroes” by agreeing to raise at least $1,000 for the cause. Heroes can be either individuals or organizations.

The American Red Cross Standardized Emergency Assistance Price List notes the following uses for $1,000:

•    571 comfort kits full of toiletries for disaster victims who have lost their homes.

•    198 blankets or 37 cots for disaster victims who must spend the night in a shelter.

•    Clean-up kits for 56 families who have flood or storm damage to their homes.

•    Groceries for up to 20 disaster victims.

•    Shoes and clothing for two families of four who lost their home to a fire or natural disaster.

•    Roof repairs for two storm-damaged home.

•    11,750 disaster preparedness brochures for your community so local citizens can learn how to create a family disaster plan or build a disaster supply kit.

•    “Master of Disasters” disaster preparedness course for 28 elementary or middle school classrooms so children understand how to stay safe in an emergency.

In addition to providing disaster relief for area residents in fires, floods, tornadoes and ice storms, the American Red Cross teaches a variety of safety-related courses.

Mondays during the Month of March, Red Cross workers will teach free CPR classes, babysitter training classes, and disaster-preparedness classes.

This year there are two fund-raising chairs, Ashley Kosier and Jaimi Dobbins.

Their heroes include the Jay Fire Department, Rural Electric, Arvest Bank, Vo-Tech Nursing, State Bank, Grand Lake Casino, First National Bank, and Shebangs.

Lewis noted that the biggest challenge the Red Cross faces is in finding enough volunteers to help administer services.

“We always need more volunteers,” she said.

Anyone who wishes to donate, to become a hero, of to volunteer their time, may contact one of the heroes listed above or the local Red Cross Chapter at 918-256-6143.