Trident United Way strips American Red Cross of $158,000

      NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - When the American Red Cross arrives it is both a blessing and a curse. It means disaster has struck but, help is available.

      The work of the Red Cross may be lessened,due to the Trident United Way reducing its investment{}to the non-profit by $158,000.

      The funds will be taken from the Red Cross emergency services budget.

      "These services are like our response to the Goose Creek Fire," said Louise Welch Williams. "These are single family house fires in addition to the preparation that we do getting ready for hurricane season, getting the 63 shelters that we're responsible for opening ready, getting our volunteers trained."

      Welch Williams says the cash accounts for 21 percent of the disaster response money.

      "We'll have to raise the moneyWe want the people in the Lowcountry to know that the Red Cross will be here. But, we're going to need help from the Lowcountry in helping us raise the money that this reduction is causing a little gap in our funding."

      The Charleston chapter of the American Red Cross is now depending on donations to pick up the slack.

      In a written statement issued Wednesday, Trident United Way spokesman Barry Waldman said the decision to invest less in the Red Cross is not a reflection of the organization's service. Waldman said Trident United Way hopes to focus funds on specific issues that will "improve conditions in our community."

      "Volunteers determined that donations could be more strategically invested in other programs focused on education, financial stability and health for 2012-2015. TUW invested $158,146 in the Red Cross disaster assistance program last year and will continue to provide transition funding through next March," Waldman said.

      If you would like to help out, you can click here to donate to the American Red Cross.