The American Red Cross is working around the clock to help people in Colorado, providing food, shelter, relief supplies and comfort to those affected by the devastating flooding there.
As many as 200 people spent Sunday night in seven Red Cross shelters in Colorado. More than 850 trained Red Cross disaster workers are deployed to the affected area where they have served more than 33,000 meals and snacks, handed out more than 46,000 relief items and provided as many as 4,700 health and mental health services.
As people begin to return to their neighborhoods, the Red Cross is distributing relief items such as clean up kits, rakes, tarps, shovels, flashlights, gloves, coolers, comfort kits, and insect repellant. Residents can find the relief supplies at Disaster Assistance Centers and aboard the 24 Red Cross emergency response vehicles traveling through the region. Red Cross workers are also providing individual recovery support, and health and mental health services.
OFFERING HEALTH SERVICES Red Cross volunteer Dr. Bipin Shah, a retired neurosurgeon from Rochester, New York, is lending his expertise at one of many Disaster Assistance Centers positioned throughout Colorado. He spends his time helping displaced residents retrieve prescription medications, new eyeglasses and imparting critical health-related information.
Shah’s experience with the Red Cross began three years ago, inspired by a commitment made to his daughter as she graduated from Georgetown University. “My daughter told me that she would volunteer with Teach for America at the beginning of her career, if I would volunteer at the end of mine,” he said.
Growing up in India in a family of 12, Shah came to the United States in 1971 with $8 in his pocket and went on to develop a thriving practice after years of hard work. “I became very successful by many people’s standards, but I realized that it was time to give back to others because I had been so fortunate,” said Shah. “I wanted to leave when I was at the peak of my career and could do the most good.”
His last three years have been devoted to the Red Cross on local and national disasters like the floods in Colorado. Learn how you can become involved in your local community by visiting www.redcross.org.
FLOATS TO SAFETY Pamela Stowell had seen the water beside her Longmont, Colorado home rise before, but never with the speed and intensity it did this time. Knowing that the family had only a few minutes to evacuate, she quickly hustled her two young daughters into action.
By the time Crystal, 9, and JoAnn, 5, grabbed some clothing and headed out the door, the water was two feet high – and rising. The family now faced a dilemma – how to evacuate Pamela’s elderly, bedridden mother. A neighbor quickly found an air mattress, and they managed to float the family to safety.
The entire family spent a few nights at a Red Cross shelter in nearby Mead. After returning home to face the daunting task of cleaning up, Pamela praised the staff and volunteers of the Red Cross. “Red Cross is great – they gave us a place to stay,” she said.
She said her family had been impressed by everyone at the shelter – so much so, that she is already planning a “thank-you” picnic for some time next year – as well as making a financial donation once the family is back on their feet.
As far as the disaster that affected her home, she keeps a positive attitude. “Hey – a disaster is certainly one way to get to know your neighbors better,” she said.
HOW TO HELP If you would like to help, please consider making a donation today by visiting www.redcross.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Contributions may also be sent to your local Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.