Hannibal Red Cross building shutting down - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Hannibal Red Cross building shutting down

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HANNIBAL, Mo. (WGEM) -

Whether it's donating blood or needing help in a disaster, Northeast Missouri residents have turned to the Red Cross Chapter in Hannibal for years, but that changes at the end of the month when the Hannibal office will be closed, and services will be coordinated out of St. Louis.

The reason the American Red Cross is closing the Hannibal office is to cut down on duplicated services and save about $87,000 a year to make donor dollars go farther.  Those in Hannibal say they don't want to see the local office shut down.

"Personally I think it would be a bad idea just because if it's kept in a local area, the people who work there are going to know the community," said Hannibal resident Marshall Smith.

Smith wants to see the Red Cross keep its Hannibal office open, at least until he knows what's going to change when services are handled out of the St. Louis area.

"The impact time.  Depending on how they want to set up the communication system and how it's going to be communicated and how fast they can react, that's a big question," he said.  

Cindy Erickson, the CEO of the Greater St. Louis region, said this is a necessary move.  She said while there will no longer be an office in Hannibal, Red Cross services and disaster response will still be there.

"That our services will be very seamless.  The local community won't know because we'll be working with family that's impacted through our volunteers," she said.

Marion County Emergency Management Director John Hark said he'll notice a big change.  He believes response time and volunteers could diminish when it comes to handling big efforts like the May 20th windstorm. 

"They all fell in together they worked together and they did over 4,000 meals for people in the city of Hannibal. How do you replace that kind of stuff? Saying we'll call St. Louis, no I don't buy that," Hark said.

While seven Northeast Missouri counties are set to join the St. Louis Chapter of the Red Cross, Cindy Erickson said there's still a possibility of combining Red Cross efforts in Northeast Missouri with those in the Quincy area.  That decision could be made in a meeting next week.

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