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      Red Cross releases initial numbers from Fritch Wildfire Relief Efforts

      More than 200 homes were destroyed in the May wildfire that devastated the town of Fritch.

      The American Red Cross released initial numbers of its current financial position in responding to the Fritch fires.

      The organization estimates that emergency relief and initial recovery efforts for the May wildfire could cost approximately $340,000. As of June 4, they have received pledges for $176,000 in donations designated specifically for this wildfire, according to American Red Cross Texas Panhandle Chapter Executive Director Steve Pair.

      He told Pronews 7 they have provided:

      Meals and snacks (21,526)

      Red Cross shelters (2)

      Emotional support contacts (170)

      Health Services such as first aid, blood pressure checks (354)

      Relief items such as rakes, work gloves and sifter boxes (3,569)

      Personal hygiene kits (105)

      Red Cross relief workers (139 with the majority being volunteers)

      Preparedness materials delivered (385)

      Pair said it's important to note that this cost figure is an estimate and could change as the Red Cross works with community partners to identify additional needs and develop recovery plans, and continues their response.

      He said the organization is currently engaged in their individual assistance portion of recovery where families meet one-on-one with trained Red Cross caseworkers to begin determining what types of items they need to take the first step toward recovery. "We currently have open casework for more than 40 families."

      In some cases, families will receive financial assistance to meet their humanitarian needs. "Financial assistance is just one of many resources we may provide to help people recover," Pair said.

      "For folks that designated on their check or gave through one of the local campaigns that were designated for this response, their gifts have been or are being used now. The additional monies to cover the total cost come from American's who give through our 'disaster relief' option which allows us to use funds for disasters big and small, where the need is greatest. We are just one organization and it's going to take a community effort to meet the long-term needs of those impacted by the fire. At this point, we support and encourage people to give to our general 'disaster relief' fund so that we're able to be expedient wherever the next response happens."

      "I am very thankful to everyone who has supported this effort, volunteer and financials supporters alike," Pair said.