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Yates County Red Cross office to close   ADVERTISEMENT

Yates County Red Cross office to close

YATES COUNTY—As of Wednesday, Sept. 4, the Yates County Chapter of the American Red Cross office in Penn Yan will close after being in operation since 1917.
Yates Executive Director Carol Oswald explained she was notified the week of Aug. 21 her position was going to be cut, and was later told last week the entire office was closing. Administration will be handled by the Red Cross office located in Seneca Falls. Oswald said she was told the office was closing to “ensure service delivery and streamline operations to make the best use of donor dollars.”
Oswald has worked for the Yates Red Cross for the last 11 years. Oswald said the office has been open for 96 years in Yates. She explained she is the only paid employee at the Yates County branch. She said up until two years ago there were additional employed staff. The remaining people are now volunteers, who will remain in Yates.
Jay Bonafede, Red Cross communications coordinator for the Finger Lakes/Western New York regions, said consolidation started in March when the Finger Lakes and western areas combined into one Red Cross district. The agency plans to close a total of four offices in this area: a Bath satellite location, the office in Geneseo, the Hornell office, and the Penn Yan branch.
Bonafede said the decision was made as part of a statewide move. He added, “it wasn’t anything specific. We decided that there wasn’t really a need to have as many offices open.” Bonafede explained only management operations will move from the area.
Oswald said she is working to have another agency handle certain (food pantry and utility aid program) emergency responses.

CORRECTION:  This article relfects the following correction: The Observer reported in the Aug. 28 edition that the Red Cross is closing the Yates County office in Penn Yan.  Yates Executive Director Carol Oswald said she was working to have another agency take over responsibility of certain emergency responses.  Jay Bonafede, Red Cross chief communications officer, explained this applies to the food pantry and utility aid program.  However, he said the Red Cross will continue to administer disaster relief services coordinated through the Seneca Falls office, including volunteers who respond to the scene of house fires to provide food, clothing, shelter, and support.  Bonafede added the Red Cross will still handle safety training and blood drives.



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