The American Red Cross has launched 25 large relief operations in 20 states since March 31, responding to wildfires, tornadoes and floods from North Dakota across the country to the East Coast and all throughout the South.
More than 8,700 Red Cross workers from all 50 states have responded since March 31, helping people whose lives have been changed forever by these disasters. With the help of many community partners, the Red Cross has opened hundreds of shelters and served more than 1.8 million meals and snacks.
These organizations and businesses support Red Cross relief efforts in many ways, from feeding those affected and operating shelters, to conducting disaster assessments, offering spiritual care and health and mental health services, and teaching preparedness information throughout areas where flooding is expected.
Two such organizations are the Southern Baptist Convention and Salvation Army, which helped feed thousands of people affected by flooding and tornadoes. Along with the National Baptist Convention, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, Lutheran Disaster Relief and the United Methodist Committee, they also provided spiritual care and helped people cope in the aftermath of the disasters.
The NAACP, National Baptist Convention, Save the Children, Catholic Charities, Islamic Relief USA and Church World Services trained volunteers to support the huge disaster response, feeding and sheltering people in need, and helping plan the response to the current flooding along the Mississippi River.
Various organizations helped conduct disaster assessments, traveling through neighborhoods destroyed or heavily damaged during the rash of extremely harsh spring weather. They included Kappa Alpha Psi Inc., the Western Alabama Labor Council, the Central Alabama Building and Construction Trades Council, AmeriCorps and Islamic Relief, USA.
Adventist Community Services opened and operated warehouses in Alabama, Missouri and Tennessee. The Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation assisted operations in North Carolina, Mississippi, Georgia and Alabama - feeding people, distributing comfort items and assisting with damage assessment. Catholic Charities supported relief efforts in Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee – opening shelters, distributing food, clothing and relief supplies, offering emotional support and use of a Wi-Fi-equipped trailer where people can charge their cell phones and use their laptops.
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints established relief supply distribution sites in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas and Missouri, and will continue to support clean-up and recovery efforts over the next several months. The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship helped with debris removal in Arkansas and is running several distribution stations in Alabama. The Legal Services Corporation is providing pro-bono legal services and Mennonite Disaster Services is providing clean-up and debris removal. Samaritan’s Purse is assisting those in need in Alabama.
Varioius businesses have also stepped up to the plate, donating needed items in bulk to help the many people who have lost everything to the disasters. Clorox, Rite-Aid, CVS, Dollar General, Walgreens, Kraft, Kroger, Kellogg, 3M, Nestle, Verizon, Pepsi Co., Home Depot and Lowe’s donated items like water, snacks, clean-up items and medical supplies. FedEx provided complimentary shipping. Tide Loads of Hope offered free laundry service. In Alabama, KFC and Pizza Hut donated thousands of meals.
More than 2,300 Red Cross workers continue to help people along the Mississippi River and in areas across the south where tornadoes wiped out entire communities. Working side-by-side with volunteers from partner organizations, they are operating shelters, distributing meals and clean-up supplies, and providing health and mental health services.
The Red Cross 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.