Officials: Funds Stay in Auburn

Originally published in print and online at The Auburn Journal Sept. 6, 2009

Red Cross and Salvation Army respond to residents’ concerns

Auburn residents have come together to help victims of the 49 Fire recover from devastating losses. However, some locals are concerned about where their donations are ending up.

Rumors have been circulating that money and supplies given to the Salvation Army and the Red Cross won’t reach fire victims.

David Morikawa, the Red Cross volunteer managing the relief effort for the 49 Fire, says that isn’t true.

“It may not be the exact same dollar bill, but it’ll be the equivalent,” he said. “We honor the donation 100 percent.”

Morikawa said he understands the concern, and wants to be sure the community knows exactly where their donations are going.

He explained that though they do offer donors an opportunity to donate to a general Northern California disaster relief fund, the individual decides exactly where their money is going. So money intended to go to fire victims will go to fire victims.

“Our auditing center is in Sacramento,” he explained. “But all of the money comes back, and we don’t keep any of it. We put helping the victims first.”

As of Thursday evening, 49 Fire donations totaled $29,000 in cash and pledges.

Ken Tokutomi, chairman of the Salvation Army Advisory Board of Auburn, also wanted to assure those looking to donate that their contributions are staying in Auburn.

“One hundred percent of the donations we have gathered that were designated for the fire are being invested back into the community,” Tokutomi said…

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