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Friday, April 18, 2014

Red Cross NMI Chapter’s Club 200 set for Oct. 19

Next month’s Club 200, the American Red Cross NMI Chapter’s signature fundraising event, will have the theme “Salute to Service.”

Executive director John Hirsh said this year’s theme is a sort of nod to military personnel but is also a tribute to everyone in the community who are helping other people.

“So anyone can dress up as firefighter, policeman, or doctor. Anybody who is involved in public service,” he said.

The 2013 Club 200 is set for Oct. 19 at the poolside of the Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan. Doors open at 6pm.

Like in previous years, the entrance fee for the fundraiser is $100 and gives ticket-holders a chance to win the Club 200 grand prize worth $15,000.

He said the local chapter of the American Red Cross hopes to sell 1,200 of the 1,300 tickets it has printed.

Last year, ARC raised in excess of $100,000 during its Club 200 event, which had a “Wild West” theme.

While 2012’s fundraising haul was impressive, Hirsh said it was still far off from the record-setting $170,000 they raised during the heyday of the CNMI’s economic boom.

“It’s been more of a struggle. When times were great it was easier for people to open their wallets and purse and give more. But when times got harder people become more particular in where they’re going to give to,” said Hirsh.

Despite the economic doldrums the islands’ have experienced the past several years, Hirsh is still upbeat the local community will donate money for a worthy cause.

“Through the 35 years we’ve been in the CNMI we’ve developed a lot of trust and respect. They know if they’re going to give $200 or $100 it’s going to a good cause. This year a donor is giving $15,000 and they know they’re giving it to an organization that has accountability and transparency. Our financial information and our bookkeeping is open to everybody.”

Also, Hirsh said, the NMI Chapter has shown throughout the years that it is always at the beck and call of the community when it needs it most, which means during disasters.

“We’ve supported our community here by providing well over $1 million in financial and in-kind assistance for people affected by typhoons, fire, and floods. We’re like the leading humanitarian organization providing support to victims of natural disasters as well as working with a lot of businesses to get a strong lifeguard organization going and teaching health and safety classes like first aid.”

Just a couple of weeks ago, the NMI Chapter provided almost $1,000 in assistance to a family whose home in Dandan was flooded. The money was used to lodge the family in a hotel and provide them with clean linens, clothes, and food.

The NMI Chapter’s assistance also extends outside the CNMI as volunteers from the local group have assisted in rescue and recovery efforts during Hurricane Sandy, Hurricane Katrina, the 2011 tsunami in Japan, and the recent typhoon in the Philippines.

Club 200 is one of two signature events of NMI Chapter during the year. The other one is the American Red Cross Walkathon in March. People who want to donate to the local chapter of the American Red Cross can also give $1 or a quarter to the many ARC white boxes located inside many establishments around the islands.

For more information on the NMI ARC or to buy tickets, call their office at 234-3459.

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