Stroudsburg, Monroe County - Red Cross chapters in Northeastern Pennsylvania have helped more than 157 people so far this year. The expenses are cutting into already strained budgets.
Jim Rienhardt is the Executive Director of the Red Cross of the Poconos. He told Eyewitness News he is dealing with the worst budget crisis he has seen since he started there a few years ago. And he's not alone. Red Cross directors across Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania are struggling to keep up.
Hurricane Sandy swept away huge chunks of cash. Rienhardt noted, "That totally decimated our budget that we had."
In the Pocono Region alone, setting up shelters and warming stations costs nearly $100,000. "A little under a third of your budget all of a sudden being totally cut and impacted as a result of that," noted Rienhardt.
Plus, there have been a lot of fires recently. Rienhardt said the number of fires in December and January were the highest NEPA has seen in twenty years. The Red Cross helped more than 50 families in those two months.
Paying for shelter, food, and supplies gets expensive. So the Red Cross is asking for help. Rienhardt says every dollar counts. He added, "We appreciate everything that comes in whether it be the five dollars, the one dollars, the hundred dollars, five thousand."
Here is a link with information on how to donate to the Red Cross http://www.redcross.org/charitable-donations