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Evacuating is Scary for Kids in South Carolina

Wade Freeman and daughter Karlie

Wade Freeman and daughter Karlie enjoy her fairy princess book at the Red Cross shelter in North Charleston, South Carolina.

It’s going to be a very rough ride.

As people in South Carolina clean up after the devastating flooding, the American Red Cross is there with them, providing shelter, food, relief supplies and help planning how to recover. More than 800 Red Cross workers and 45 response vehicles have been deployed to South Carolina to help.

More and more people are able to go home, but as many as 190 people spent Thursday night in 4 Red Cross and community shelters in South Carolina. The Red Cross is distributing meals and relief supplies both at central distribution sites and throughout affected communities. Items include comfort kits containing personal hygiene items as well as cleaning supplies such as tarps, flashlights, trash bags, shovels, rakes, bleach and work gloves, along with hot meals.

Red Cross caseworkers are meeting one-on-one with people to help them plan their recovery and connect them with resources. Health and mental health workers are providing comfort and helping with things like lost eyeglasses and medications.

HELPING KIDS COPE Being uprooted from your home as floodwaters rise around you is frightening. It can be really scary for children. Wade Freeman and his seven-year-old, Karlie, know this all too well.

Karlie snuggled in close to her dad under blankets as hard rain pounded on the roof of the United Methodist Church in North Charleston, S.C. Firefighters brought the family to the Red Cross shelter when their North Charleston mobile home community flooded. “It’s going to be a very rough ride,” Freeman said. “But some things bring families together.”

He told Karlie and her brothers to pack a few things. She chose one of her favorite princess books, and for a little while the father and daughter escaped to a fantasy land where there’s always a happy ending. Yet, this is no fairy tale for Karlie and the thousands of children impacted by flooding in South Carolina. Having to evacuate their home and leave their toys behind to go to an unfamiliar place can be confusing and frightening for a small child.

It’s times like these when families need comforting and help shows up in a red vest. Many times volunteers come prepared with stuffed animals, toys and activities, which can bring a sense of security to little ones. It’s those small touches that help children feel safe during a difficult situation like this flooding.

HOW TO HELP The Red Cross depends on the continued support of the public to help people affected by disasters big and small. People can help by donating to Red Cross Disaster Relief to support disasters big and small by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations to Disaster Relief will be used to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small.

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

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