Red Cross halting 'package' program

Published: Tuesday, April 1, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, March 31, 2003 at 11:17 p.m.
Saying that the American Red Cross has been inundated with "care packages" for men and women serving in the military since the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom, a spokesman said Monday that the program has been temporarily halted.
"Because the public has been so generous with quality of life items, there are more than enough goods currently in the distribution pipeline to last an estimated four months," Red Cross president Marty Evans said. "We are, therefore, immediately suspending the Quality of Life Program until further notice."
Evans said security concerns cited by the Department of Defense and shipping restrictions played into the decision to put the program on hold.
George Mazzeo, executive director of the Alachua County chapter of the Red Cross, said about a dozen boxes had been dropped off at the local office, and every effort would be made to get them shipped to the military.
He asked, however, that no further packages be brought in. "We will have no choice but to store any additional items and ship them when appropriate," Mazzeo said.
"We are asking groups or individuals to hold on to their items until the moratorium is lifted and the destination can be confirmed."
Mazzeo added that those who want to help during the current military operation check out the chapter's Web site, http://alachua., for information on other Red Cross programs.
Diane Chun can be reached at (352) 374-5041 or

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