Unwanted Hurricane Sandy donations, like Romney’s, now a “disaster” for Red Cross

From AP we learn that the deluge of disaster relief donations following Hurricane Sandy, that include things the Red Cross said it does not want – such as goods instead of money – has caused a “second disaster after the disaster” for the agency.

You’ll recall that Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan kept insisting on donating goods to the Red Cross, as a political stunt – in fact, Romney bought the goods with his own money, then gave them to voters to give back to him on camera – even though the Red Cross was explicit on its Web site that people should NOT donate goods, but rather should donate money and/or blood.

Note that that woman must have gotten that Obama
t-shirt at the non-partisan disaster relief rally.

When you donate goods to the Red Cross they have to divert staff time, and money, towards organizing those goods, delivering them, and more.  As AP explains:

Superstorm Sandy has brought out generosity far and wide in the biggest U.S. relief effort for the American Red Cross and other groups since Hurricane Katrina swamped the Gulf Coast in 2005.
And while the response is heartwarming, some of that is also helping create a “second disaster after the disaster,” in the words of one expert.

And while the response is heartwarming, some of that is also helping create a “second disaster after the disaster,” in the words of one expert.

Ad hoc relief groups need to make sure they are taking in only items that are requested and can be distributed. Money is the best because organizations don’t have to pay to move it and can tailor spending to changing needs, McGowan said. Transporting and distributing a simple donated can of food can be $15 to $25.

In case there was any doubt about the phony nature of Romney’s giving, remember that Paul Ryan actually stopped his office’s “hurricane relief efforts” so he could get there for a photo opp before they were finished. It was more important that Paul Ryan get his photo in the paper than that the supplies be sent as soon as possible.

In the end, we know that the supplies weren’t needed at all. They needed money. The Red Cross even issued a passive-aggressive “thank you” to the Romney campaign telling them to stop it:

From the Cincinnati Enquirer we learn that the Red Cross issued a passive-aggressive statement about Romney’s “gift” yesterday:

Agency officials told The Enquirer they are grateful for help, but don’t want people – including political candidates – sending supplies. They would rather have donations of money and blood.

“We are not asking for material donations,” said Laura Steinmetz, spokeswoman for the South Jersey Region of the organization. “Financial donations allow us to quickly and efficiently meet the needs of the people in a disaster. It’s far more expensive for us to receive the donated goods, sort them, warehouse them and transport them. So our financial donations are much more cost effective.”

That’s “Red Cross”-speak for: Stop it.

Romney and Ryan really are the gifts that keep on giving.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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