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Help through nonprofits
Many who call United Way are being sent to local Salvation Army and Red Cross offices.
The Twin Cities Area Chapter of the American Red Cross took in more than $1 million in donations or pledges in August, officials there said. About $850,000 of that was redesignated, with donor approval, so that the chapter could use it for other needs, including the nearly 400 other emergencies for which it provides aid every year.
With bridge donations, Red Cross Chief Executive Officer Jan McDaniel said the organization helped defray about $50,000 in funeral costs and provided aid in the form of gift cards, transportation, food and a place to stay for some out-of-town relatives.
Red Cross typically doesn't have to reach out to find survivors.
"In anything like this ... there's that gray area of confusion," McDaniel said. "We make it known that we're here to help and rely on them to contact us."
Annette Bauer, a Salvation Army spokeswoman, said her organization is working on 12 cases. The Salvation Army collected $56,000 after the collapse and could consider applying for Bridge Disaster Fund money if it runs out.
Chris Langer, vice president of communications for the Minneapolis Foundation, said the Bridge Disaster Fund is being handled carefully.
"People kind of learned from a lot of these disaster funds that have been set up in the past that being careful is better than ... shooting from the hip," Langer said. "It's perhaps a little more cumbersome, but on the other hand, people who have contributed money can be assured that the money is going to go where they intended it to go."
Olson said he and other survivors were thankful for all donations, and he assured givers that the aid would help survivors rebuild their lives.
Pam Louwagie 612-673-7102
Pam Louwagie firstname.lastname@example.org