The Augusta chapter of the American Red Cross launched its 2014 Heroes Campaign on Thursday, with more than 40 community members gathering at its downtown headquarters to help raise $60,000 in support of local disaster relief, health and safety education and services to the armed forces.
Those in attendance for the three-week campaign’s kickoff event said they are planning a variety of fundraisers – from food truck and frozen yogurt sales to social networking and community donations – to meet and surpass this year’s goal.
So far, the campaign, a grass-roots effort in which volunteers pledge to raise at least $1,000, has banked more than $6,000, with the fundraising team of Pam Tucker, the director of Columbia County Emergency Operations, already contributing more than $1,000, Red Cross officials said.
Money raised will benefit Augusta Red Cross programs and services in Richmond and Columbia counties. Last year, the chapter responded to 150 house fires and opened six shelters during February’s ice storm.
“We’re going to make this campaign better than last year’s,” said NBC 26 Meteorologist Jay Jeffries, who is co-chairing the fundraiser with anchor Barclay Bishop. “Once we’re finished and surpass – not reach – our goal of $60,000, we’re going to have Red Cross burned into our brains.”
Among the first events planned is a fundraiser being organized by the Red Cross’ Youth Board on Monday at Yotopia on Robert C. Daniel, Jr. Parkway. A percentage of all frozen yogurt sales purchased between 3 p.m. and closing will benefit the Heroes Campaign, said Emma Bentley, a sophomore at Davidson Fine Arts School.
Bentley, a member of the Youth Board, said the group raised $26,000 last year, a little more than half of the campaign’s 2013 total.
“We’re really proud of that and this year we’re trying to beat that mark,” she said.
On May 22, Doctors Hospital will hold a “Books and Bags” sale, in which gently used books, purses, handbags and beach bags donated by the community will be sold in support of the campaign.
Also, Grace Bowles, the marketing and communications director for Bowles Construction, a 35-year-old family-owned insurance-restoration business on Wrightsboro Road, will have every dollar she receives through social media and business associates matched by the company.
“We see firsthand the devastation that comes with fires and natural disasters,” Bowles said. “You lose everything and people rely on the Red Cross for food and shelter. It’s important that we help provide funding.”
Fundraiser information is available at crowdrise.com/HeroesCampaign.