BRISTOL, Va. - As we get back in the swing of things after the holidays many people are returning to a sense of normalcy; but for the Mountain Empire Chapter of the American Red Cross, things are still just as busy now as they were in December.
The group helped after 18 house fires in December. "Mainly because of the weather and it's colder outside and people are turning on their heat and things like that," says director Felicia McNabb.
The only thing that's different is the amount of donations coming in.
At Bristol Faith In Action many residents are coming in needing help with heating bills. "We've seen them as high as $1,600 and that's tough. That's hard for anybody to pay," says Tyler Franklin, Executive Director of Bristol Faith In Action.
During a typical December, Bristol Faith In Action gets five times more donations than any other month.
Franklin says they work to budget so the money lasts all year long, but come June and July when air conditioning bills are due and donations are slim, it can be a battle of crunching numbers. "While we do appreciate December and donations we get there, please remember the need is there all year long and that's kind of the bottom line," adds Franklin.
The same is true for the Red Cross, who recently stepped up after another fire. "We help with the hotel and we give what we call 'client assistant cards.' It's basically a debit card with enough money to buy a few outfits for each person in the family," adds McNabb.
The workers here are grateful for any help the community can give, but they're hoping the season of giving lasts throughout the entire year.