Red Cross addresses concerns about landslide donations

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by LINDA BYRON / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @LByronK5

KING5.com

Posted on March 27, 2014 at 8:30 PM

DARRINGTON, Wash. -- The major landslide near Oso has triggered a flood of donations from cash to food and clothing, but all that giving is also creating some challenges.    

One of the first charities to step up in the OSO disaster, and one of the biggest, was the American Red Cross.  The Red Cross had shelters set up in Darrington and Arlington on either end of the massive landslide across Highway 530 by Saturday night, just hours after the slide occurred.    

But the Red Cross found itself the target of some scathing criticism on Thursday morning when postings on Facebook turned up claiming that Red Cross workers in Darrington had turned away a Costco truck loaded with supplies the night before.  That posting triggered angry responses on the social media website.

Asked about the claims of a truck being turned away, American Red Cross spokesman Colin Downey said it’s untrue. 

“I do have confirmation that we did receive a truck last night, we re-directed it down the road, those donations were unloaded, and those donations will be used to provide assistance to the folks there in Darrington," Downey said.

Costco confirmed the truck was unloaded.  Mike Thuringer, Asst. Manager of the Marysville Costco, said that the truck carried a combination of supplies from his store and one in Burlington, including bottle water.

The Red Cross was also being criticized for how it managed donations.  The money was going into a generic disaster relief fund, where it could just as easily go to a flood victim in another state as a landslide victim here in Washington. 

Thursday afternoon the Red Cross informed KING 5 it had set up a designated fund called the “Oso Mudslide Relief Fund.”

So far, the Red Cross has served 5,000 meals and snacks to victims, families and first responders and has provided 101 overnight stays, according to Downey.
 

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