Just three years after making major reforms in its business model, the American Red Cross is again making sweeping changes in its operations. The drastic changes started taking place several days ago as 34 Chapter Managers across the state were given notice that their positions had been eliminated. The changes will consolidate the number of chapters from 18 to only 6 that will be operated as regional chapters. In a town hall meeting held today in Gadsden, state Red Cross leaders said that the Etowah/Cherokee County chapter will be integrated into the North Alabama Chapter which is run from Huntsville and that the Calhoun/Cleburne County chapter will become part of the Mid Alabama Chapter which will have its base in Hoover. Regional Executive Officer Mark Beddingfield says that several factors led to this new round of consolidation. Beddingfield added that national fundraising efforts came up short by about $70 million in the last year and that the Red Cross had taken out loans to cover the costs of some recent major disasters. North Alabama Chapter Director Khris Anderson says that the new Red Cross model will rely heavily on local volunteers, but that– despite the changes – local communities should not see any change in Red Cross services. For residents in Calhoun and Cleburne counties who would like to know more about the new Red Cross consolidation efforts, there will be a similar town hall meeting held in Anniston on Thursday, September 25 at 10am. The meeting will be held at the Red Cross office on Noble Street.