With the New Mexico wildfire still out of control, and North Dakota flood waters only slowly receding, the American Red Cross continues to help residents in these communities.
It is estimated that the wildfire near Los Alamos, N.M., has burned more than 60,000 acres, which has led to a mandatory evacuation of the entire town of Los Alamos. An additional fire farther south also prompted the evacuation of 300 people on Tuesday.
To help residents who have been forced out of their homes by the wildfires, the Red Cross has three shelters open in New Mexico; 137 people stayed at these shelters on Tuesday night.
As the disaster response continues in New Mexico, Red Cross workers are also at work in North Dakota as part of the ongoing flood response. The Red Cross continues to operate two shelters in the Minot area for people who left their homes after the Souris River overflowed its banks.
Steve Kightlinger is one of the more than 10,000 people who evacuated their homes in the Minot area. He arrived at the Red Cross shelter only hours after the evacuation orders were given.
He has been a resident at the Red Cross shelter for several days—and now he’s a Red Cross donor, too. A few days ago, he wrote a personal check to Red Cross disaster relief.
All Red Cross disaster relief is provided free of charge to those who need it. In Kightlinger’s case, he decided to give back after seeing how the Red Cross is working to help residents like himself.
"From an experience like this, you see the money is being used properly," said Kightlinger. "The Red Cross has taken care of us."
Like thousands of other evacuees, Kightlinger has no idea when he'll be allowed to return to his home or what the flooding will leave behind. For now, Kightlinger says he's giving back with small donations to the Red Cross because he wants people in the shelter to be comfortable.
"I know it's a little bit here and there, but someone can use it," he said. "There are millions of small things that you just don't think about to support the shelter."
How You Can Help
Those who want to help can make a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. This 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; you can also text the word “REDCROSS” to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to local American Red Cross chapters or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.