By MAGGIE MENDERSKI
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
HANNIBAL, Mo. -- The American Red Cross will close its Northeast Missouri office Oct. 1.
Red Cross will provide services to Marion, Ralls, Pike, Shelby, Monroe, Lewis and Clark counties through the Greater St. Louis Region chapter. Cindy Erickson, Red Cross regional chief executive officer, said this is part of a movement to more effectively use resources. The closure will save the Red Cross more than $87,000 annually.
"Change is hard for everyone, but I think the important thing is that the Red Cross is here," Erickson said. "Our services don't happen out of our building, they happen out of our people."
The Red Cross has operated the Northeast Missouri office in Hannibal for 96 years. Media requests to the Northeast Missouri office were forwarded to the regional office.
The office employs an executive director and an administrative assistant. Both positions will be eliminated with the consolidation.
Erickson said Red Cross will implement a transitional plan to help volunteers and service areas adapt to the changes. The Red Cross will most likely rent spaces to house supply trailers. Erickson said churches and community organizations often offer space to house supplies.
"Typically what we find is that the community is so generous to help the Red Cross," she said.
The pre-positioned trailers allow the Red Cross to serve disaster victims within two hours of the disaster. The pre-positioned trailers and trained volunteers allow for this even without a local office. The Red Cross of the Greater St. Louis Region Chapter currently serves 72 counties in both Missouri and Illinois. The region has more than 2,000 volunteers. Erickson said 95 percent of the Red Cross's nationwide workforce is made up of volunteers.
The Red Cross will continue to provide humanitarian services such as relief for disaster victims, blood drives, assistance to military families and a variety of emergency preparedness classes.
"This (consolidation) is just one step to ensure we're going to be there for the community for another 100 years," Erickson said.
Those requiring Red Cross services should call 314-516-2800.