The fundraising campaign -- Heroes for the American Red Cross -- recognizes local residents, businesses and groups that agree to donate $1,000 as the organization's Heroes. It is a nationwide movement that the Walker County chapter has participated in for two years.
Pam Fikes, executive director of the local Red Cross chapter, said the Heroes program also raises awareness about the services offered by the Red Cross.
"We pretty much try to do educational events year round, but we do especially when we're doing this fundraiser," she said.
Fikes said many people know about services like the organization's blood drives and CPR classes, but "everything beyond that is a surprise."
The Red Cross also provides shelter and funds to families who lost their homes through fire or severe weather. Fikes said many people are also unaware the Red Cross provides communication systems for members of the armed services stationed abroad and makes travel arrangements for soldiers who have to return home for an emergency.
The American Red Cross also helps locate missing people in disaster areas like Haiti after the earthquake or, more recently, missing family members in Libya.
"When people realize what the Red Cross does, they want to help," Fikes said.
Local Red Cross officials hope to raise $25,000 this year through the Heroes program.
Fikes said the local chapter received $40,000 of funds for the entire fiscal year. After eight months, the local Red Cross has used 81 percent of the money, mostly on emergency relief.
"We've almost spent all of it on housefires -- we haven't even had a single tornado yet," she said.
This year, the Heroes Campaign will be chaired by Linda Lewis, Chamber of Commerce of Walker County; and co-chairs Lorayne Vague, Southern Orthopedics; and Robbin Allen, Reed Energy. The Hero Leaders will be Ron Harris, Delta Transfer; Beth Reed, First Bank of Jasper; Pat Maddox and Charlie Cook, Alabama Power; Marcy Brown, city clerk of Parrish; Jacque Criswell, Carbon Hill; Alison Washington, AFLAC; and Deb Ellis, Walker County Center of Technology.
Fikes added schools and churches are also encouraged to become Heroes, and 12 congregations already plan to offer collections for the program.
Anyone interested in the Heroes of the American Red Cross campaign can contact the local chapter at 205-384-1478.