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Red Cross needs help meeting $10,000 challenge from NBT

PLATTSBURGH - The North Country Chapter of the American Red Cross has been given a challenge and the chapter is turning to the community for help.

NBT Bank has challenged the local Red Cross to raise $10,000 by the end of the month of June.

Pat Garrow, senior vice president and regional manager for NBT Bank, said the bank had considered giving a flat donation to the Red Cross in light of the recent flooding that has devastated the region, knowing the Red Cross has been overwhelmed in recent weeks.

"We could've done that, but we wanted to throw out a challenge to see if we can turn this donation into more money for the Red Cross," said Garrow.

That challenge was one Jeanie Roberts, executive director of the local Red Cross, was very interested in, she said.

"I thought it was a great idea," said Roberts. "This challenge really gives the community the vehicle to make their donations to the Red Cross go even further."

The North Country chapter has had ongoing disaster relief operations throughout six counties in the Northern New York since April 26 due to severe storms and flooding. During that time, more than 180 volunteers have been deployed for bulk distribution of food, comfort kits, home clean-up kits, disaster assessment and sheltering operations.

The Red Cross operated an emergency shelter locally for flood victims at the Crete Memorial Civic Center then at the former ASAP Blood Center for 36 days, helping 85 people, said Roberts. The fact the Red Cross doesn't have to meet the $10,000 goal to get a dollar-for-dollar match is what makes the donation even more special to Roberts.

"We'll still get matched for every dollar we raise up to $10,000.That's what's exciting," said Roberts. "Just think, if someone donates $50, it becomes $100. If they donate $100, it becomes $200. This will be a tremendous help."

"I think they'll meet the goal," said Garrow. "We have such a giving community, no matter what the cause, whether it be the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts - it doesn't matter. The people of this community are very generous."

Donations for the disaster relief challenge/matching grant can be directed to American Red Cross North Country Chapter, 13 Guy Way, Plattsburgh N.Y. 12901. For more information, call the chapter at 561-7280.

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