Thursday, June 4, 2009

"Non-Profit Day" at Representative Byrd's Breakfast

Representative Byrd billed her public breakfast as a "non-profit" day. On board were Al Velarde, the Executive Director of the Child Crisis Center, and Mike McGahhey, the Outreach Specialist for El Paso's Red Cross.

Velarde announced that the new goal of the Crisis Center is to provide a program for family reunification and preservation. Through better case management, the hiring of Lori Leon to be the Fund Development Officer, and expanded work with Ft. Bliss, Velarde has nearly doubled services in two years.
Cases from military families are up significantly in the past 2 years from 2% to 26% of the case load. The stresses of war, single parenting, and addiction have led to an increase of family issues among the military community.

The Child Crisis Center relies on funds from foundations, federal grants, city funds and private donations. There is also the Discovery Shop, a thrift store that accounts for one-fifth of its income or about $380,000 per year. The store is located at 4747 Hondo Pass Drive.

Mike McGahhey said that becoming better able to respond to disasters was the current goal of El Paso's Red Cross. Texas has had more declared disasters than any other state - 83 since 1953. El Paso often receives refugees from disasters such as Hurricane Katrina or Ike.

The biggest disasters in El Paso are house fires. There are 2 per week in the City. McGahhey went over tips for fire safety. He also encouraged members of the audience to volunteer through

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