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Red Cross stops annual fundraising campaign to concentrate on bushfire assistance

Friday February 20, 2009

For the first time in nearly sixty years , the annual 'Red Cross Calling' fundraising appeal will not proceed this March.

Because of the unprecedented requirements of responding to one of Australia's worst ever natural disasters, Red Cross has no alternative but to stop its major fundraising campaign proceeding next month.

'Red Cross Calling, in one form or another has been the organisation's major annual fundraising campaign since the early nineteen fifties,' Red Cross CEO, Robert Tickner said.

'The money collected by our tens of thousands of dedicated members and volunteers funds the ongoing day to day core operations of Red Cross and has enabled us to be ready for emergencies such as the Victorian fires and Queensland floods. It allows us to provide a range of programs that help some of the most disadvantaged people in Australia and around the world,' Mr Tickner said.

'However, the demands on our emergency services, volunteer teams and support staff and the huge public response to the plight of people affected by the fires means we have our hands full responding to this humanitarian crisis.'

'To enable us to continue supporting both the Victorian Bushfire Appeal and our relief work with people devastated by the fires, and to avoid confusing the public with another Red Cross appeal, we feel we have no choice but to stop Red Cross Calling proceeding,'he said.

We apologise to the thousands of Australians who have committed to collecting donations on our behalf for Red Cross Calling. We ask those who have received Red Cross Calling kits to please return them as soon as possible. Collectors can email or call
1800 008 831 with any questions.

The Appeal was established last Sunday as a partnership between Red Cross and the Victorian and Australian Governments.

As announced by the Premier, the money is being used to provide assistance to individuals and communities in towns and suburbs affected by the fires.

All funds collected by Red Cross are being paid into a special trust account established by the Victorian Government for distribution to the affected people and not one cent will be deducted for administration costs.