The American Red Cross is gearing up to distribute truckloads of relief supplies this weekend in flood-ravaged Colorado.
The Red Cross will have 17 truckloads of supplies to hand out to residents, including personal hygiene items, cleaning supplies, lanterns, tents, sleeping bags, rakes, tarps, shovels, flashlights, gloves, coolers and insect repellant.
More than 5,000 items have already been given out at local relief centers, where the Red Cross is also providing additional recovery support.
Some communities were completely cut off by the floodwaters and damaged roads, sending hundreds of people to area shelters; more than 200 stayed in shelters on Thursday night. Working with community partners, the Red Cross has also served more than 15,000 meals and snacks so far.
In addition to food, shelter and relief supplies, Red Cross workers are also providing health and mental health services, including replacing prescription medications and eyeglasses and giving emotional support. The Red Cross has sent in dozens of mental health workers to help residents deal with the trauma and stress that come with a disaster such as this.
Rusty and Jo Ann May are one couple who found a sympathetic ear at the Loveland Disaster Assistance Center.
The Rays have enjoyed living and working at their home in Big Thompson Canyon for over 30 years, but on September 12, they barely got out with their four horses before a flash flood came crashing through.
“We received a call from a friend that we should load up our four horses and get them out of the canyon. By the time we had them loaded, the water was three feet deep,” May told Dorothy Lanphear, a Red Cross mental health worker.
The Mays’ homestead suffered great losses. Their home, carport and workshop, the place were Rusty May made a living by creating custom-made saddles, were all destroyed. Jo Ann May lamented the big rolls of beautiful leather, the raw materials for Rusty’s saddles, that were completely destroyed by the high water.
They are amazingly upbeat and resilient after the loss of their home. “I’m better off than many. At least I still have my land, and with a good load of new topsoil too,” said Rusty May.
How to Help
The Red Cross has launched a large relief effort to help people affected by floods in Colorado, New Mexico and Texas. If you would like to help, consider making a donation to support 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. Contributions may also be sent to your local Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.