Chile earthquake relief donations coming in slowly

Thursday, March 4, 2010 | 12:01 a.m. CST

COLUMBIA — As donations for Haiti continue to flow in, the relief fund for the Saturday earthquake in Chile is more like a trickle.

"Chile donations have not been at the high level that we have seen previously for the Haiti donations," said Mike Odneal, executive director of the mid-Missouri chapter of the American Red Cross. "But as Chile becomes more and more on the news, we expect to see a spike in donations."

The Red Cross has pledged an initial $250,000 in relief for Chile, and Odneal said that pledge will probably increase as need and donations increase.

The Salvation Army in Columbia has also seen fewer donations for Chile relief, said Cyndy Chapman, director of development. But, she expects the number of donations to rise.

"Haiti has been going on much longer, so many more people have sent in checks for Haitian relief than for Chilean relief," Chapman said. "We expect once people realize the extent of the damage in Chile, they will understand that those people need as much help as the people in Haiti."

Chapman said one reason for the slower response to Chile is that the number of people impacted doesn't seem as large, but villages hit by the earthquake or resulting tsunamis continue to report more deaths.

"The earthquake was, by scientific estimates, 500 times larger in Chile than it was in Haiti," Chapman said.

To donate money to the Salvation Army for Chile, Haiti or any other relief program, checks may be made out to the Salvation Army and sent to 1108 W. Ash St., or its  headquarters in St. Louis at 1130 Hampton Ave. To donate to the Chile relief fund, write "Chilean relief" on the memo line.

Also, checks may be made out to Mid-Missouri Chapter of the American Red Cross, 1805 W. Worley St. To donate to the Chile relief fund, write "Chilean relief" on the memo line.

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