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Red Cross Calling appeal behind target


Thursday March 9, 2006

Australian Red Cross is warning that important community services may be at risk if Australians don't increase their support of its annual Red Cross Calling appeal.

According to the CEO of Australian Red Cross, Robert Tickner, the discovery earlier this week in Sydney of the body of an 86 year old woman in her apartment - the seventh such case this year - highlights the undeniable importance of Red Cross programs like Telecross, where volunteers make daily phone calls to people who are older and isolated, providing reassurance and personal contact.

'A tragedy like this should bring home for all of us the sad fact that there are a growing number of vulnerable people in our communities who are suffering in silence.

'When you make a donation to Red Cross Calling, you are helping us provide vital community services for these people. When you help Australian Red Cross, you are helping Australians.'

Almost two weeks into the month-long appeal - the organisation's primary fund-raising event in support of Red Cross programs in Australia - and the response of the Australian public has fallen behind targets.

According to Mr Tickner, there is now a very real risk of a shortfall when the appeal comes to a close at the end of March, an outcome that would significantly affect Red Cross' ability to meet the needs of tens of thousands of vulnerable Australians.

'Every day, right across the country, our wonderful volunteers help deliver more than 60 unique community based services,' explained Mr Tickner.

'However, the delivery of programs such as Telecross, or Save-A-Mate, where Red Cross volunteers provide judgement-free advice and assistance about drug and alcohol use to young people, will be affected if people don't get behind us and continue to donate.'

Thousands of Red Cross volunteers will be knocking on doors across the country for the rest of March. But people need not wait for them to come to make a contribution as donations can also be made online at www.redcross.org.au or by calling 1800 811 700 toll free.

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