The American Red Cross is marking the five-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina with a dinner honoring first responders, commemorative events in Mississippi and a canvassing event in which volunteers will distribute information and resources to help be better prepared for future disasters.
When hundreds of thousands of people needed help in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and two other major hurricanes that followed in the 2005 hurricane season, many individuals, foundations and corporations stepped forward to help. This incredible generosity - as well as the relief efforts of the Red Cross - is detailed in "Bringing Help, Bringing Hope,"an American Red Cross report covering the response to Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma and the ensuing years of recovery for the survivors.
"Five years ago, the American public responded to Katrina with unprecedented generosity,"said Russ Paulsen, executive director of the Hurricane Recovery Program at the Red Cross. "Looking back, I think they can be proud of what their contributions accomplished."
The American Red Cross will be participating in events across the Gulf Coast over the next several days to commemorate the five-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.
- The Southeast Louisiana Chapter of the American Red Cross will host a Day of Service Readiness Canvassing Event on Saturday, August 28. American Red Cross and Target volunteers will team up to distribute bags with information and resources on preparedness and recovery to homes in neighborhoods heavily impacted by disasters such as Hurricane Katrina and home fires. A similar Day of Service project will also take place in New York City.
- The Southeast Louisiana Chapter later will host "Heroes of the Storm," a fundraising gala on Saturday, August 28, that will honor first responders and pay special tribute to Gen. Russel Honoré, who mobilized the response. American Red Cross CEO Gail McGovern will introduce Honoré and present him with a special gift. Members of the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Army, National Guard, employees at Lockheed Martin, Entergy, local police and fire departments, and Red Cross volunteers from across the region will also be recognized.
- The South Mississippi Chapter of the American Red Cross participated in the August 21st Tears to Cheers Music Festival. The event, held in Biloxi, kicked off a weeklong series of Phenomenal People Celebration of Healing events in observance of the five-year anniversary. All proceeds collected by the vendors at the week of events will go to support the American Red Cross, Hope CDA and other area nonprofit organizations.
- The South Mississippi Chapter will be recognized for their achievements on Sunday, August 29, at a reception hosted by Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour in Gulfport. Later that evening, the Governor and First Lady will host the Governor's Cup in Biloxi. The American Red Cross is one of the recipients, along with several other agencies. These awards, one of the highest given by the Governor, are given to honor businesses for their contributions during the past calendar year, raise general awareness about their successful efforts, and showcase their results.
Donors gave the organization a total of $2.2 billion for people affected by the storms, which helped the Red Cross provide:
- Shelter for survivors across 31 states and the District of Columbia
- Hot meals and snacks
- Financial assistance for 1.4 million families to purchase groceries, clothing, diapers and other basic needs; and money for people to return home, make home repairs and get back to work
- Physical and mental health services to help them cope with stress and ease the trauma
- Tools to help survivors chart a path to recovery
- Disaster preparedness training so people know the steps to take to protect themselves and their families
"The hurricanes of 2005 tested us all,"said Paulsen. "Although we're on better footing than we were five years ago, every individual and community has to be on board in order for our country to be more disaster-ready. There is much more that we as a nation can do. Everyone—government, businesses, non-profits and the faith community—needs to work together to have better prepared communities." The report, "Bringing Help, Bringing Hope: The American Red Cross Response to Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma,"is available at http://www.redcross.org/Katrina5Year.
You can help people affected by disasters like floods, fires, tornadoes and hurricanes, as well as countless crises at home and around the world, by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for and provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance in response to disasters. Visit www.redcross.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS. Contributions may also be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.