The Red Cross will dramatically increase its stockpile of food and other disaster supplies in key danger zones nationwide and partner with community-based organizations to speed assistance to victims. It hopes to avoid a repeat of problems the charity experienced last year in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The changes mark a shift in how the nonprofit conducts itself, reports the Washington Post. Traditionally, the Red Cross has relied largely on its own resources in times of crisis. The future will find it relying much more on community-based groups when it confronts disasters.
An executive of the nonprofit, Joseph Becker, said the Red Cross will be prepared to offer financial support to churches and other local groups that provide immediate disaster relief. Those groups were the first to come to the aid of Katrina victims but quickly became fatigued. Becker said those partners will receive training and supplies and will be supported by the Red Cross. Becker said the Red Cross plans to spend $80 million to increase its stockpile of supplies both along the gulf coast and nationwide, giving the charity the ability to serve 1 million meals and shelter 500,000 people a day in the initial aftermath of a disaster.