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Grand Rapids teams up with Red Cross to help flooding, tornado victims in the South

Lindsey Smith
Michigan Radio
CEO of The American Red Cross of Greater Grand Rapids Cheryl Bremer joins Mayor George Heartwell in asking residents to support relief efforts.

The city of Grand Rapids is joining efforts to help victims of major flooding and deadly tornados in the Southern United States.

Mayor George Heartwell urged people to give whatever they’re able to afford.

“I feel so strongly that the suffering of any people anywhere needs to be our suffering. As long as there are people in need and we have the ability and the capacity to help address that need, it’s critical for us to do that.”

The city of Grand Rapids will accept donations on behalf of the American Red Cross. They want to make it easier for people to give. The money can be kept locally or designated for relief efforts in the South.

Cheryl Bremer is the CEO of the American Red Cross of Greater Grand Rapids.

She says damage assessment teams haven’t determined yet how much the flooding going on now in the Mississippi River system will cost. Bremer says those teams estimate recent tornado damage alone will cost the non-profit $31 million to help. 

“I can easily see that this is going to go to a $50 million relief effort on our own soil. And so as we came together for Japan and Haiti I am asking this community now, with the city of Grand Rapids, come together to financially support our neighbors.”

Lindsey Smith is Michigan Radio’s investigative reporter. She previously served as Michigan Radio’s Morning News Editor and West Michigan Reporter.