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Local Red Cross and United Way Help Raise Funds to Battle Ebola Virus

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Through our international network, the Red Cross can help in the battle against this terrible virus.

PROVIDENCE, R.I., September 26, 2014 — The American Red Cross Rhode Island Chapter and United Way of Rhode Island are joining with local residents with ties to Western Africa to help people there who are coping with the deadly Ebola virus. The outbreak currently ravaging the region is the worst in recorded history, killing nearly 3,000 people to date and sickening thousands more.

The American Red Cross continues to coordinate with the global Red Cross network on the response and to date, has contributed $2.6 million to the fight against Ebola. This contribution has been used to strengthen the capacities of local Red Cross societies to manage the outbreak, assist with epidemiological investigation and increase public awareness about virus prevention. The American Red Cross has also deployed two Information Technology specialists to Sierra Leone and is working with the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap team to provide accurate maps to relief agencies working on the ground.

The Liberian Ministerial Fellowship of Rhode Island has mobilized to support relief efforts in the affected countries and is working with the Red Cross and United Way to channel funds toward areas of need.

“Reverend Alexander Kollie of the Westside Tabernacle Church in Providence approached the Red Cross and United Way to see how we can work to address this health crisis,” said American Red Cross Rhode Island Chapter Executive Director Paula Montgomery. “Through our international network, the Red Cross can access local and international expertise and resources to help in the battle against this terrible virus.”

Reverend Kollie and others in the community are mobilizing to raise funds, Montgomery said. “We are glad that, through our International network, we can provide the links between those here in Rhode Island who want to help and the people on the ground in Western Africa in need of that help.”

“The situation in Liberia requires our help and needs it now,” said Reverend Kollie, noting that public awareness is vital to reducing the spread of the virus.

Through a partnership with United Way of Rhode Island, the public will be able to donate online throughout the month of October at www.uwri.org to support the West Africa Ebola Outbreak Fund. All of the funds raised will be released to the American Red Cross to help strengthen the capacities of the affected local Red Cross societies to manage the outbreak, assist with the epidemiological investigation and increase public awareness about virus prevention.

“The Ebola outbreak is an important health issue that’s affecting the families of many of our Rhode Island neighbors and requires a widespread international response,” said Anthony Maione, president & CEO of United Way of Rhode Island. “People are asking what they can do to help. At United Way, we connect people to opportunities that change lives and strengthen our community. We are pleased to assist with this effort, which will be directed to an immediate, critical need.”

Reverend Alexander Kollie of the Liberian Ministerial Fellowship of Rhode Island will be joined by American Red Cross Rhode Island Chapter Executive Director Paula Montgomery and United Way of Rhode Island President & CEO Anthony Maione to discuss the fund drive at a press conference on Tuesday, September 30, at 11:00 a.m., at the Westside Tabernacle Baptist Church, at 134 Bridgham Street in Providence.

People wishing to support the West Africa Ebola Outbreak Fund may donate online at www.uwri.org between October 1 and October 31. The funds collected will be released to the American Red Cross and will help strengthen the capacities of affected local Red Cross societies to manage the outbreak, assist with the epidemiological investigation and increase public awareness about virus prevention.