The American Red Cross is helping residents who are recovering in the wake of severe storms and wildfires. While temperatures have returned to near-normal in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic, more than 135,000 people remain without power across the country and wildfires continue to rage in the West.
In the last 24 hours, the Red Cross has provided shelter for more than 180 people at 20 locations in Florida, Montana, New Jersey, Ohio and West Virginia.
WEST VIRGINIA WAITS In West Virginia alone, more than 80,000 residents wait for the power to come back on after severe storms that hit the area more than a week ago. The Red Cross is helping those residents cope in the meantime. Hundreds of Red Cross disaster workers are working throughout the state, providing shelter, meals and supporting government-run cooling centers.
There are currently 13 shelters open caring for more than one hundred residents who have been displaced due to prolonged power outages. With four kitchens and approximately 20 emergency feeding vehicles , the Red Cross has served more than 68,000 meals and snacks since June 30. The Red Cross has also provided nearly 1,000health and mental health contacts, giving critical support in the shelters and affected communities.
The Red Cross is not alone in West Virginia. A reliable partner during times of disaster, the Southern Baptists has helped in establishing kitchens. The Red Cross has also contacted over 100 congregations, 20 volunteer fire departments and 7 school superintendents to help identify shelters and isolated communities needing support.
ACROSS THE COUNTRY Meanwhile, approximately hundreds of additional Red Cross disaster workers continue to help people affected by disasters including the wildfires out west and flooding in Florida. Over the last month, the Red Cross has supported families across multiple states, operating shelters, serving hundreds of thousands of meals and snacks, and distributing nearly 200,000 relief items such as rakes, shovels, coolers, work gloves, cleaning supplies and hygiene kits.
“We are so appreciative of the volunteers being here, having someone to talk us through this has helped a lot,” said Carrie Rottenborn referring to the emotional support the Red Cross is providing. She and her husband lost their home to the Waldo Canyon wildfire near Colorado Springs.
The Red Cross continues to provide support to individuals and families across the country and remains a vital part of the disaster response for communities in need. And it may not be over just yet. Severe storms are predicted today for Mid-Atlantic and Mid-South regions. Wildfires continue to rage in the West.
To find a Red Cross shelter, go to www.redcross.org or access the free Red Cross phone app. People can also watch local media reports to find out where shelters are located.
PLEASE GIVE BLOOD The storms and power outages have caused the cancellation of more than 50 Red Cross blood collections in areas without power, resulting in a shortfall of nearly 2,000 units of blood and platelets. The blood supply was already down to emergency levels after 50,000 fewer donations than expected were collected in June.
Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental permission in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements. To schedule a donation time, people can call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org.
POWER OUTAGE TIPS While their electricity is out, many people are resorting to generator power. They should connect the equipment they want powered directly to the generator outlets, and never connect a generator to the home’s electrical system.
HOW TO HELP Those who would like to help people affected by these disasters can make a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief by visiting www.redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies more than 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 join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.