Red Cross overwhelmed with work after fire outbreak

WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - Many families are left with nothing after six fires this past week in Texoma, and it is taking it's toll on the Red Cross.
43 people have been displaced by those six fires, 18 children and 25 adults.
The Red Cross is encouraging people to volunteer and donate to help, but it is not stopping them from doing their job.
Victims will get help regardless how many times they are called out.
    "The Red Cross came and helped us out a lot," Brandon Murray, a Fountaingate Resident said.
    "The Red Cross helped us a lot," said Joe Biter, another resident at the complex said. "I am very impressed with the Red Cross."
The Red Cross's work fluxuates from disaster to disaster, spreading the organization thin when there is a spike in fires.
    "We need people that are interested in helping us," Katrina Farmer, Executive Director of American Red Cross Texas Big Country said. "And people interested in coming in and being trained. It really takes a commitment."
Farmer said volunteers are always needed because disasters can strike at any time.
    "If there's a fire in the middle of the night, our volunteers will get out of bed and go take care of people they don't even know to make sure they have their basic humanitarian needs met, which is food, shelter and clothing," Farmer said.
But the recent fire rise has volunteers running on numerous days without sleep.
The organization is not federally funded, meaning their funds come from local donations.
Farmer said any donation, despite how big or small, helps.
    "We worry about having enough funds for the entire Red Cross nationwide to do what we do," Farmer said. "And to have enough money in the bank for the whole organization for wherever that next big disaster is."
But no fire or disaster will stop them from helping those in need at their lowest point.
    "The Red Cross does really well," Joe Raub, the Wichita Falls Fire Department Battalion Chief said. "They house people, or at least get them some money for a hotel."
    "We just want to make sure there's enough support for the Red Cross that we are there for whoever that next fire victim is," Farmer said.
She adds victims will get everything they need following a disaster, but the Red Cross has to be careful with how much they give depending on the disaster so they do not run out of funds.
If there is a disaster in Texoma that's too much for local workers and volunteers, they will get help from other Red Cross groups all over the country.

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