Red Cross Closes Fridays to Save Money

Red Cross Closes Fridays to Save Money

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OGDEN, Utah (AP) -- The Northern Utah chapter of the American Red Cross will be closed on Fridays for the next three months to save money.

The chapter also is depending on seven employees to do the work of 11.

The organization needed $170,000 by June 30 to meet its budget. Despite a plea for funding, only $25,000 was received last week.

"The $25,000 was totally unexpected and we are very grateful," Julia Groom-Thompson, chapter executive director, said. "While that certainly helped, we ended the fiscal year significantly in the red and will now have to implement budget-cutting strategies."

W. Charles Swanson, chairman and CEO of the Dr. W.C. Swanson Family Foundation, waived the chapter's rent for the remainder of the year and challenged the community to step up and help.

Groom-Thompson said next year's budget has been whittled down to $870,000. In past years, the chapter has relied on a little more than $1 million.

"That is really tough," she said. "One of the things our budget heavily depends on is disasters. We had no idea that this year we would have one of our biggest disaster years ever, but we responded to 53 of them."

This year, the cost was approximately $131,000. The Red Cross only set aside only $57,000 for those expenses.

The drop in donations is blamed largely on the economy. Many of the local charitable foundations that regularly contribute to the Red Cross have experienced a loss and have been forced to make cutbacks.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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