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Poconos Red Cross needs help after helping so many

By Meghan Packer, Reporter, MPacker@wfmz.com
Published On: Aug 12 2014 05:09:04 PM CDT
Updated On: Aug 12 2014 05:51:00 PM CDT

Dozens of people in the Poconos have lost their homes and belongings in several fires over the past month.

STROUDSBURG, Pa. -

Dozens of people in the Poconos have lost their homes and belongings in several fires over the past month.

The American Red Cross is there to help, but with so many people affected in such a short amount of time, it takes a toll on the organization.

The Red Cross is helping 21 people who were displaced after row homes went up in flames on Lackawanna Avenue in East Stroudsburg last week. It's also assisting 18 people affected by a fire on the 500 block of Main Street in Stroudsburg from earlier in the month, along with 11 people displaced by another fire on Main Street in July.

"We're really lucky that we're in such a giving community because the chapter has been able to handle the immediate assessment and need of all these people," said Michele Baehr, the Executive Director of the Pocono and Wayne Pike Chapters of the American Red Cross. "We've had a great outpouring of resources and funding that has been coming into the chapter, especially since the Lackawanna fire because so many families and children were affected."

Among the assistance, the organization offers three days of lodging and money to buy necessities.

"The average amount of funding that we give to a fire family is about $1,100," said Baehr.

The Red Cross also gives fire victims comfort kits with toiletry items and stuffed animals for children.

"We're in a very sustainable model right now. The problem comes when we continue to have our resources tapped out," Baehr told 69 News.

She said resources from regional Red Cross chapters help, but donations are critical.

"We are always looking for people to donate so that whenever there is a need that arises, the Red Cross can be there," she said. "You never know when disaster is going to strike."

The Red Cross is working with families affected by the fires to help them get set up in rental units.

You can donate on the Red Cross website or you drop off or send a check to the Pocono chapter at 410 Park Avenue, Stroudsburg, PA 18560.