Tuesday, March 4, 1997
Red Cross gives,
needs help

BY TOM O'NEILL
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Like the rising waters of the Ohio, the flood of calls for help has yet to crest at the downtown headquarters of the American Red Cross.

More volunteers are needed.

''We'd love to put them to work and use their skills - such as nurses, for instance - but anyone willing to help we appreciate,'' said Michele Bayer, Red Cross spokeswoman. ''Especially to work the phones. We're really in a crisis mode right now.''

About 400 volunteers have joined the Red Cross effort, answering phones, transporting goods, coordinating shelter relief, handing out ''comfort'' kits of toiletries and other basic needs. The headquarters has 100 ham radios with volunteer operators and 15 fax machines.

''I just had a woman from Newtown, 18, who lost everything,'' said Bill Bray of Cheviot, a Cinergy employee volunteering to answer one of the 80 phones. ''She was scared and tired. It feels good to have the opportunity to help out.''

Mr. Bray directed the woman to the Columbia Parkway YMCA at Delta Avenue and Columbia Parkway, which hours earlier had been set up as a shelter to assist people in the east side. Asked when his shift would end, he said, ''I guess when I just can't go anymore.''

''I'll sleep when I can,'' said George Long, business manager for Lebanon City Schools, who volunteered at a Ripley shelter.

Numerous corporate citizens have helped as well. AirTouch Cellular offered 100 cellular phones. USA Mobile donated 160 beepers. Also Monday, Fifth Third Bank established a Red Cross-affiliated account to take donations.

In Grant County, Ky., the Red Cross was unable to reach a shelter, so the fire department offered to transport goods.

FLOOD STORIES
FLOOD PHOTOS

How to help

Here are the numbers to call for those who wish to donate time, money or other aid to flood relief efforts:

To volunteer

American Red Cross, 579-3000.

The Salvation Army, 762-5600 for referral to the nearest location.

To send financial donations

American Red Cross, Cincinnati Area Chapter, 720 Sycamore St., Cincinnati 45202.

The Salvation Army, Box 596, Cincinnati 45201. Please mark envelope ''Ohio Floods.''

Any Fifth Third banking center in Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky and Indiana. The account number is 728-74698.

To donate food and non-perishable items

Star Bank emergency assistance program, 632-4141, or outside the Cincinnati area, (800) 627-STAR.

The St. Vincent de Paul Society, (800) 255-7070 or 579-3000.

If you need help

American Red Cross, (800) 255-7070 or 579-3000.

The Salvation Army, 762-5600.


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Entire contents Copyright (c) 1997 by The Cincinnati Enquirer, a Gannett Co. Inc. newspaper.