Louisiana Flooding: How the Red Cross is Helping
Hope and Suzanne Key deliver relief supplies to Josh LaLonde in St. Martin Parish, Louisiana. Red Cross photo by Bonnie Robert Will.
David and Lynda Stockinger are helping their neighbors in Louisiana. Red Cross photo by Rick Harvey
Tamika Chatman and Phillip Poydras, Baton Rouge, are grateful for the help they are receiving at the Red Cross shelter in Gonzales, Louisiana. Red Cross photo by Virginia Hart
It’s been a week since historic flooding in Louisiana devastated tens of thousands of lives, and the work of the American Red Cross is just beginning. Red Cross workers are providing shelter, food and comfort right now, and will continue to be there in the weeks and months as ahead, helping residents recover from this massive disaster.
Here are a few stories from the region:
AGENCIES WORKING TOGETHER
In most of St. Martin Parish, Louisiana, the flood waters have receded and people are starting the long clean up and recovery process. But in some sections of the parish, whole neighborhoods are still underwater.
Local Red Cross volunteers Hope Key and her mom Suzanne tried to get meals, water, snacks and other relief supplies to people in the area, but floodwaters impeded their access. Some residents waded through the water to get the items. Then the Office of Homeland Security Emergency Preparedness for the parish stepped in and said they would take the meals, water and supplies by boat to residents still surrounded by water. It’s through coordination and cooperation like this that the Red Cross can safely provide relief to those affected by disaster.
Large disasters like this flooding create more needs than any one organization can meet, and the Red Cross is working closely with the entire response community – federal, state, county and local agencies, other non-profit organizations, churches, area businesses and others – to coordinate relief efforts and deliver help quickly and efficiently, keeping in mind the diverse needs of the community.
VOLUNTEERS GO INTO ACTION
Five feet is all that separated rising flood waters in east Baton Rouge from the door of Red Cross volunteers Lynda and David Stockinger. Their home was spared, but many homes in the neighborhood were flooded and residents had to be evacuated.
The couple put on their American Red Cross vests and began to help. “The Red Cross was opening shelters and it was so hard to get into some neighborhoods, so we loaded up comfort kits and started taking them to our neighbors,” Stockinger said.
The Stockingers have been Red Cross volunteers since 2009. Mrs. Stockinger is a nurse with her Disaster Action Team but also helps with Volunteer Services, Mass Care and Sheltering. Mr. Stockinger spends time helping with Logistics and serving as a coordinator for Emergency Response Vehicles.
To become a Red Cross volunteer, visit redcross.org today to learn more about volunteer opportunities and how to submit a volunteer application.
RED CROSS NURSES LEND A HAND
Tamika Chatman and her husband, Phillip Poydras, live in an area of east Baton Rouge that has never been considered in a flood zone, so they were overwhelmed when they were forced to evacuate their home as water began to rise very quickly.
They are receiving help at the Red Cross shelter in Gonzales, Louisiana. Poydras is hypoglycemic and must watch his diet carefully. Red Cross nurses and volunteers check on him frequently throughout the day to see if he needs anything.
“The volunteers, the nurses, they have all gone above and beyond and have all been so kind and gracious,” Chatman said. “When the lights go out each night here, we feel safe,” she said. “And we have a little peace of mind.”
Learn more here how the Red Cross is giving people a place to go when there is no place to go through the words of one woman who has lost everything.
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.