Thousands of Red Cross workers are deployed all across the South, helping people along the Mississippi River and in areas where tornadoes wiped out entire communities in the last few weeks.
Teams of Red Cross workers trained in mental health, health services and spiritual care are going door to door in some areas to talk to residents about flood preparedness. Volunteers from AmeriCorps National Community Civilian Corps (NCCC)—a long-time partner of the Red Cross—are also involved in these efforts.
In addition to distributing preparedness information, the Red Cross has opened seven shelters in Mississippi, with more on standby to help residents who evacuate from their homes.
In Louisiana, where the opening of the Morganza Spillway on Saturday is expected to affect thousands of people, Red Cross workers are also distributing flood preparedness information in potentially impacted parishes.
The Red Cross is prepared for a prolonged feeding and shelter response, with more than 20 shelters ready to open if needed in Louisiana. To ensure there will be enough volunteers to support a long-term sheltering operation, the Red Cross in New Orleans, La., is also recruiting and training more local volunteers.
Meanwhile, truckloads of Red Cross relief supplies made their way into the state over the weekend, including thousands of cots, blankets and comfort kits. The Red Cross is working closely with government and community partners to ensure workers, equipment, shelters, food and relief materials are in place as people evacuate from their homes.
For weeks to come, as waters remain high through many parts of Mississippi and Louisiana, Red Cross volunteers will be there to help residents through a life-changing disaster.
One of these workers is Lucy Wolfe of Greenville, Ohio, a Red Cross volunteer for 71 years. Wolfe will celebrate her 96th birthday in August and is the kind of person who will leave the comfort of her home at a moment’s notice, ready to assist people she has never met during their greatest time of need.
She began volunteering with the Red Cross in 1940 after she received her practical nursing license from the Red Cross. It was a time of war for our nation and Wolfe was motivated to begin her journey of helping others. “The Red Cross chose me, trained me, and I have met a heck of a lot of nice people,” Wolfe commented.
Her dedication continues today as she works with her local Red Cross chapter in Darke County, Ohio. In addition to the Red Cross, Lucy enjoys volunteering with four other charities. She was recognized four years ago by the Veteran’s of Foreign War (VFW) for the most volunteer hours in the state of Ohio.
Wolfe is one of more than 2,800 Red Cross workers helping the people affected by the disasters which have recently plagued our southern states. The Red Cross is prepared for a prolonged feeding and shelter response along the Mississippi River in addition to helping the people affected by the wildfires and tornadoes of the last few weeks.
The Red Cross depends on financial donations to help in times of disaster and estimates that it will spend as much as $31 million responding to the recent disasters, and has received $27.6 million in pledges and contributions for those operations.
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.