published Sunday, May 8th, 2011

Donations to aid fund climb

Southeastern Tennessee has no shortage of needy cases after April’s tornadoes, but thanks to hundreds of Times Free Press readers, those storm victims are getting help.

As of Saturday night, about 300 donors had given $35,318 to the newspaper’s Neediest Cases: Southern Storms fund. Money goes directly to the Red Cross, which provides food, shelter and other necessities to those in need.

“We’re blessed to be able to tell the story of the greater Chattanooga area every day, but when we get to tell the story in a way we can see a direct, tangible response from our readers, that always touches us,” Times Free Press President Jason Taylor said. “In any cases of tragedy or loss, there are always needs that go unmet, and we’re hoping that this fund can provide for those people.”

The fund is used every year in December to help needy families around the holidays.

In six weeks, the campaign typically raises $40,000; storm relief has nearly reached that level in just a week.

“Donations have been extremely heavy,” said Times Free Press employee Mary Austin, who oversees the fund. “It’s been unbelievable, the amount of mail I’ve gotten.”

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