Hundreds of American Red Cross workers are helping people in Colorado, making sure those affected by the flooding have food to eat, a safe place to stay, relief supplies and emotional support.
As many as 200 people spent Monday night in four Red Cross shelters in Colorado. More than 860 trained Red Cross disaster workers are deployed to the affected area where they have served more than 46,000 meals and snacks, handed out more than 56,000 relief items and provided as many as 5,500 health and mental health services.
As people begin to return to their neighborhoods, the Red Cross is distributing relief items at Disaster Assistance Centers, Red Cross Emergency Aid Stations and aboard the 24 Red Cross emergency response vehicles traveling through the region. Red Cross workers are also providing individual recovery support, and health and mental health services.
BUSY WAREHOUSE To the casual visitor, it looks like a whirlwind of chaos. Big trucks are backing up to the loading doors and forklifts are zipping around the massive warehouse, unloading dozens of pallets and loading them into vehicles for delivery to area affected by the Colorado flooding.
Red Cross volunteer Pat Bos, South Carolina, and his crew are kept busy, working on more than 17 truckloads of supplies including personal hygiene items, cleaning supplies, lanterns, tents, sleeping bags, rakes, tarps, gloves, flashlights, colors and insect repellent for those affected by the flooding.
“We want to get the product out to the client because they are ones who need it and they need it now,” Bos said.
On a recent day, Bos and his crew were busy loading a truck with blankets, gloves and cleanup kits heading out to one of the flooded areas. He watched to make sure everything was loaded properly and secured for the ride before heading out.
Bos, who retired after an Air Force career, said he is volunteering with the Red Cross because “it’s time to give back to the community.” It’s a job with long hours and no pay, but Bos said his reward is knowing that what he is doing is helping those in need. “You can’t put a dollar figure on it,” he said.
CALL CENTER HELPING The Red Cross has established a call center for people in Colorado to call if they are in need of services. The number for clients to call is 888-635-6381. This number is for clients only - please no general inquiries. The center is available seven days a week from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. MT.
Red Cross volunteer Leonard Garyson, the call center manager, said the center is handling as many as 30 calls each hour. “It’s important that the information goes out to the public in a timely manner and that those who call are able to have their questions answered,” said Garyson, Grand Rapids, Mich.
Garyson expects the number of calls will jump as word get out that the center is open and will start tapering off as the various needs are met. But Garyson emphasized the call center will remain open as long as there is a need.
Some calls are from people wanting to know where they can get clothing and those wanting to donate clothing. Some people displaced by the flooding want to know where they can take their pets. He said the call center has also been getting calls from people offering living space in their homes for those who have been displaced. “They want to help. They haven’t been affected and they want to reach out and help,” he said.
HOW TO HELP If you would like to help, please consider making a donation today by visiting www.redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to your local Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.