This holiday, 68 year old Sandra Ellis will tell you, she has a lot to be thankful for. She’s ridden out numerous storms this season and survived. Unfortunately she can’t say the same for her home. But thanks to the American Red Cross all that has changed in time for the holidays.
Ms. Ellis sought shelter when the spring tornadoes rolled through El Reno late May. “When the tornado came through it put a hole in my bedroom right where the light was and it started pouring in and go my mattress wet,” stated Ms. Ellis.
The American Red Cross provided her a tarp for her trailer at her request, however a few weeks later another storm blew through this time peeling portions of the flat metal roof back like a tin can. Sections of Ms. Ellis’ kitchen roof were completely exposed to the elements, mold started growing inside her home and she says the trailer became unlivable. Ms. Ellis reached back out to the Red Cross for help. “There is no way I would have been able to take care of this myself, I’m on a fixed income,” Ms. Ellis said.
Ms. Ellis received the help from the Oklahoma Disaster Recovery Project (ODRP), a collaborative partnership which the American Red Cross is heavily involved in. ODRP agencies helped her get a new trailer and Ellis’ Red Cross case manager walked her through the steps of getting assistance and ensuring she was taken care of right up to the delivery of the new home to El Reno in early December.
“This is exactly what the Red Cross is here to do, provide assistance to people impacted by disasters,” stated Ken Garcia, Red Cross regional communications director. “Ms. Ellis story is just one of hundreds getting recovery services across Oklahoma and we are privileged to be part of her getting back to a new normal.”
“I think it’s great and I would volunteer to help somebody myself,” stated Ellis. “I never thought how many people join together and do stuff like this. I appreciate it greatly.”
The Red Cross and ODRP continue to provide individual and family assistance across all disaster affected areas in Oklahoma following the May storms and tornadoes. ODRP partner agencies include the American Red Cross, Catholic Charities, Salvation Army, Society of St. Vincent De Paul and the Oklahoma United Methodist Church. For those needing assistance, they should call 1-866-477-7276.