NEW BERN - The American Red Cross region for Eastern North Carolina is reporting budget problems due to excessive disaster relief.
According to a press release, since the beginning of the fiscal year, they've gone over budget by $50,000. That figure doesn't include how much winter weather costs the organization, an estimated $40,000 in additional funds.
Since July of 2013, the American Red Cross has responded to 605 disaster incidents giving aid to 1,641. During February's winter storms, 10 shelters were set up in Eastern North Carolina to help with people who lost power.
Red Cross officials also say the cold weather has resulted in a string of home fires.
On Tuesday, February 25, a home on 11685 Old Highway 70 went up in flames. The family who lived there were not there at the time, but in 30 minutes, the whole house was burned down.
Living in the home were a man, his wife, and two grandchildren.
"I had went to help out my son. The wind had taken the top off his house," said Bernie Majette. "I was gone about 5 minutes and when we looked back, it went fast." Majette says the cause is unknown. "They couldn't explain exactly what happened, but they felt it was an electrical fire," said Majette.
No one was hurt, but Majette and his family had no where to go. The American Red Cross put them in a motel until they could work out another living situation.
"The Red Cross, they did an excellent job," Majette said. "[They] placed us in a motel, a little finance, and got the kids clothes."
To help raise money for the Eastern NC Region of the Red Cross, Craven 247 donated a portion of its lunchtime revenue to the Red Cross.