Disaster Relief Agencies Raised $22.3 Million for Tornado Relief Efforts in Alabama

Relief organizations have raised about $22.3 million for Alabama communities still recovering from April's storms, with approximately $8.2 million set aside for long-term needs, the Birmingham News reports.

According to the News, the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army have raised $12 million and $2.2 million, respectively, while the two agencies combined have spent about $17.1 million. Indeed, the Red Cross has spent approximately $3.4 million more in the state than it has collected, for things like food distribution, shelter, toiletries and blankets, and health and mental health services.

In contrast, the Governor's Emergency Relief Fund has raised $3.8 million, all of it earmarked for long-term needs, while the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham is administering five relief funds that have raised a total of $2.9 million. Of those, only the Bama Rising Fund, established with proceeds from the Bama Rising benefit concert in June, has spent any money to date — roughly $250,000 for rebuilding and refurbishing damaged homes in Jackson, DeKalb, Marshall, and Franklin counties.

While some residents have criticized various charities for setting aside as much money as they have for long-term needs, disaster relief experts have praised the approach. "That area doesn't get enough funding," said Sandra Miniutti, a vice president at Charity Navigator. "People forget and move on to something else."

Val Walton. "$22 Million Raised for Alabama Tornado Aid." Birmingham News 07/24/2011.