Hundreds of people along the Gulf Coast are still in American Red Cross shelters in Louisiana and Mississippi, where they find a safe place to stay, food to eat and a shoulder to lean on. That support could come from a Red Cross nurse or one of many other volunteers,
For example, in Hattiesburg, Mississippi a shelter resident was there for several days when she developed severe pain. The Red Cross nurse on duty called 911 to report a case of appendicitis and emergency personnel rushed the woman to the hospital. During her convalescence in the hospital, Red Cross nurses checked in on her. The woman was able to return to the shelter, where her husband was still staying, and continue her recovery.
PLANNING WHAT TO DO NEXT Now that the storm has passed, Red Cross caseworkers are meeting one-on-one with those in need to gather their information from both before and after Isaac. The meetings occur daily with caseworkers discussing options for getting people back on their feet. The “Road To Recovery” booklet serves as a checklist for information and referrals that connect people to the community.
Another tool caseworkers put to good use is the Red Cross Safe and Well web site. Casework Supervisor Gary Gardner related how one man registered at the shelter, letting caseworkers know he didn’t know what happened to his former girlfriend and their infant daughter. “Caseworkers found them using Safe-and-Well and now he's smiling like a Cheshire cat,” Gardner said.
PARTNERS IN ACTION Partnerships are vital to successful response and recovery in damaged areas after a disaster. The Red Cross partners with many agencies, companies, institutions and organizations. One such partnership is with the AmeriCorps. In Mississippi, five teams of ten AmeriCorps members are helping the Red Cross distribute needed supplies and meals. They are also assisting local Red Cross volunteers conduct disaster damage assessment in the affected areas. For some, like Ashley Coleman of Brick, N.J., this is the first opportunity for her to lead a team.
“I’m so grateful for this life-changing experience,” said Coleman, “This is real. I just hugged a homeowner whose house had been flooded. This is my first opportunity to be in a leadership role.”
“It’s important for young people to have a variety of leadership experiences in life,” said Ada Powell, a Red Cross Partnerships volunteer. “Being able to lead a team in accomplishing tasks in harsh conditions is invaluable for her. Ashley and her team also experience serving others and can get immediate gratification from that service.”
HOW YOU CAN HELP Red Cross relief services for Isaac could cost as much as tens of millions of dollars and we need your help now. Our costs are growing by the hour and we haven’t raised anywhere near the millions of dollars we will need for the Isaac response. But the public has always come through for us when Americans need help. To donate, people can visit www.redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.