A group of charities coordinating efforts to aid local family members of victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks is trying to find the right recipients for its money and help.
The group is asking Marylanders who lost an immediate family member in the attacks to call United Way's "First Call for Help" line, 800-492-0618.
The cooperating agencies -- the Red Cross of Central Maryland, United Way of Central Maryland, and Family & Children's Services of Central Maryland -- have at least $300,000 to distribute from the September 11th Fund, one of the largest established after the attacks. It is administered by the United Way of New York City and the New York Community Trust.
The Red Cross of Central Maryland has additional money from its "family gift fund" for short-term expenses such as mortgage and tuition payments. The American Red Cross, which has received $543 million since the attacks, said Wednesday that it would provide up to a year's worth of living expenses to eligible families. That offer came after donors said they wanted more of the money to go to family members of victims.
The local agencies, calling themselves "Maryland on the Mend," are working from a list of about 65 names compiled by the Red Cross and other sources.
But Janis R. Martin, a licensed clinical social worker at Family & Children's Services, says there's no guarantee that every Maryland family member is on it.
After family members call the help line, they'll be put in touch with caseworkers who will come to their homes for an interview. The agencies then will decide which requests to grant -- and which charity will cover each need.