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Wildfire Evacuee Joins Red Cross to Help Neighbors

  • Volunteers with Southern Baptist Convention Disaster Relief
    Volunteers with Southern Baptist Convention Disaster Relief unload supplies and prepare meals to be delivered to Red Cross service locations and into the communities impacted by the Butte Fire. Photo by Jordan Scott/American Red Cross
  • Red Cross volunteer Janet Upchurch
    Red Cross volunteer Janet Upchurch provides lunch to Mountain Ranch resident Terrance Hession. Terrance is one of many residents who lost their home to the devastating Butte Fire. Photo by Jordan Scott/American Red Cross
  • Rich Woodruff, a Red Cross worker from Utah
    Rich Woodruff, a Red Cross worker from Utah, surveys the damage done by the Butte Fire in the community of Mountain Ranch in Calaveras County. Photo by Jordan Scott/American Red Cross
  • Red Cross volunteers unload trailers
    Red Cross volunteers unload trailers and load emergency response vehicles to distribute supplies to residents in the fire affected areas in Kelseyville. Photo by Jim Hobbs/American Red Cross
  • A big hug in front of her lost home. Taken in the town of Middleton and the surrounding area.
    A big hug in front of her lost home. Taken in the town of Middleton and the surrounding area. Photo by Russell Cole/American Red Cross
  • Liz Jackson
    Wildfire evacuee Liz Jackson (at right) distributes relief supplies as part of a Red Cross disaster team.
I've been so impressed by everyone at the Red Cross.

The American Red Cross continues to provide meals, relief supplies and support to people in California impacted by the wildfires.

RED CROSS RESPONSE More than 350 people accessed Red Cross and community shelters Wednesday where they received food and drinks, showers, support and information about the situation.

Since evacuations were first ordered, more than 600 trained Red Cross workers have:

  • Served more than 76,000 meals and snacks
  • Handed out more than 32,000 relief items
  • Supported more than 10,000 overnight stays in shelters
  • Provided more than 4,800 health and mental health contacts
  • Opened more than 500 cases to provide individualized recovery support
  • The Red Cross is distributing food and relief supplies in some areas where people are allowed to return home. Red Cross mental health workers are available to help people through this emotionally draining time and health services workers are helping to replace items such as eyeglasses and prescription medicines and provide other support.

    Red Cross caseworkers are meeting one-on-one with people to create recovery plans, navigate paperwork and locate help from other agencies. In some situations, the Red Cross is providing direct financial support to people who need extra help. These services are available at local resource centers in Middletown and Jackson.

    WOMAN EVACUATES, HELPS HER NEIGHBORS The wildfires in California have affected thousands of people, damaging or destroying more than 1,700 homes and threatening many more. Cobb resident Liz Jackson, 68, is still under evacuation orders after the fires forced her to leave her home.

    "The flames were all along the ridge, it just lit up the sky. And of course there was the smoke," she said. She was working in her garden when she received the call to evacuate.

    "I looked around at what I could grab quickly, and there was my laundry basket full of clothes. I just grabbed it and left with the clothes I was wearing in the garden," she said, pointing to her sandals.

    She was one of the last residents out of the area. Jackson made it to safety but was soon restless. She heard that the Red Cross was having a volunteer recruitment event at one of the local shelters in Kelseyville. This was her chance to help, so she made her way down to the event.

    "I couldn't just sit around waiting, doing nothing. I wanted to help," she said. The Red Cross paired her with a relief supplies distribution team in Middletown, where she was able to help her friends and neighbors by passing out vital resources like rakes, shovels, clean-up kits, gloves, ice chests, snacks and water.

    "I've just been so impressed by everyone at the Red Cross," Jackson said, "It's really been a whole community effort by these volunteers."

    Now staying in the Red Cross shelter at the Twin Pine Casino in Middletown, she has become an integral part of the team. "She's part of our Red Cross family now," said one volunteer.

    DOWNLOAD EMERGENCY APP People can download the Red Cross Emergency App which contains information about what to do in case of wildfires and more. The app contains wildfire safety tips and users can set notifications for fire weather watches, red flag warnings, dense smoke advisories and air quality alerts. You can also use the “Family Safe” function to instantly contact loved ones. Users can find it in smartphone app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps.

    WILDFIRE SAFETY People can also get safety information by visiting the wildfire safety section of this web site.

    HOW YOU CAN HELP Donations to the Red Cross are being used to provide help to people in need right now and will enable us continue providing help as communities recover. People can help by donating to Red Cross Disaster Relief by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations to Disaster Relief will be used to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. We respond to nearly 70,000 other disasters every year, from home fires to wildfires and more. Learn more about how Disaster Relief donations have helped people affected by previous disasters including home fires.

    About the American Red Cross:
    The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 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 cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

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