Adversity in the Red Cross

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Adversity in the Red Cross

A green hurricane relief efforts donation box, made by MVHS Red Cross club members. Photo by Sara Young

A green hurricane relief efforts donation box, made by MVHS Red Cross club members. Photo by Sara Young

A green hurricane relief efforts donation box, made by MVHS Red Cross club members. Photo by Sara Young

A green hurricane relief efforts donation box, made by MVHS Red Cross club members. Photo by Sara Young

Sarah Young

In the span of three months, from August 7 to October 16, 10 hurricanes occurred within North America and near Africa. Among the hurricanes were Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, which led to the destruction of homes and displacement of many people in Texas and Florida. Support and relief efforts came to aid from donations, volunteers, among those who provided help was the Red Cross.

Recently, however, the Red Cross has been seeing backlash over their usage of funds towards the natural disasters. The backlash started 12 years prior. In 2014 a NPR(National Public Radio) investigation took place, it uncovered that the Red Cross utilized relief resources in their public relations. Prior investigations done by NPR discovered that 25 percent of Haiti’s donations were spent on internal expenses.

Red Cross club members counting the donation money. Photo by Sarah Young

Red Cross club members counting the donation money. Photo by Sarah Young

Critics have utilized the NPR’s findings and have criticized the Red Cross over social media. The credibility of the Red Cross has wavered due to the increase of criticism and the spreading of the NPR’s prior investigations on the Red Cross. Much of the distrust between the Red Cross and the people correlates to the usage of funds.

Co-president of the MVHS Red Cross club and senior Kriti Lalwani explains the process the donated money undergoes. Recently, the MVHS Red Cross club held its own fundraiser and Lalwani states over $200 were collected and the donation will be sent to the local Silicon Valley chapter, of the donated money 91 cents of every dollar donated will go to relief efforts.

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“I understand that some people feel that their money isn’t being used properly but I really do think that the Red Cross has done a lot of beneficial work, and they deploy thousands of people and help billions of families,” Lalwani said. “So while some people may still feel that the Red Cross is not using funds appropriately, I think[the Red Cross] have shown that they are doing a lot of work with the money they have.”

According to its website, the organization has provided shelter, food and financial support to individuals affected by the hurricanes. The website also states that it is the world’s largest non-profit organization assisting approximately 248 million people each year. Although being a large worldwide organization, running a non-profit organization comes with costs. These costs being operation, administration and development which can range in cost based around organization. Red Cross club adviser Jenna Smith believes the reason for limitations on the Red Cross are based around it being an organization.

“From my perspective, I think it’s challenging being a large organization that’s meant to help out in any disasters,” Smith said. “So I think the organizational aspect is probably what is preventing them from doing the most productive work.”

The backlash the Red Cross has received has not deterred MVHS Red Cross club members from their cause. They’ve held multiple donations throughout school and are currently planning other events, as well as a possible district wide event.

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Co-president of Red Cross club Kriti Lawani giving a presentation to other club members in B103. Photo by Sarah Young

“I understand that [some people] may think that 200 dollars is not a whole lot but even one extra cent can help, with so many people who are working together it actually makes a huge difference,” Lalwani said. “So I hope that people continue to work together in the future and that we’re able to help the people that suffered from the hurricanes.”