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Hurricane Irma - Stories of Help & Hope (Part 5)

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Eight Red Cross disaster relief workers delivered four box trucks filed with emergency relief supplies to residents of Mulberry, impacted by Hurricane Irma. Pallet by pallet, they unwrapped and unloaded case after case of water, infant formula and diapers, personal hygiene items, clean-up kits, paper towels, shovels, trash bags and bleach.

The Red Cross is working in partnership with the Redlands Christian Migrant Association (RCMA) to distribute these much-needed relief supplies to hundreds of low-income families across 20 counties, many of whom had no work for more than a week after the storm. This was one of several deliveries in addition to meals and nonperishable food to lend a helping hand to some of Central Florida's most vulnerable populations.

Meet just a few of the volunteers who made it possible:

Bryan, a retired New York City firefighter and member of the Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART), drove one of seven bulk supply across Central Florida on that day. Through a partnership between the New York City Fire Department and the Red Cross, DART rapidly deploys highly trained teams to impacted areas, distributing emergency relief supplies and assessing damaged areas. 

As a Marine Corps veteran, Lentz of Greater New York is no stranger to deployment, but this is his first as a Red Cross volunteer. He praised Floridians for their resiliency, and noted that people have been very kind – always offering a hug or handshake. He enjoys helping those who feel “forgotten” by bringing help and hope to those who need it most.

Venessa from Wisconsin joined the Red Cross as a volunteer after a deadly explosion rocked the small town of Cambria where her daughter’s father worked at a corn milling plant. She saw the Red Cross responding to help the community, and wanted to do the same. Hurricane Irma is her first deployment, and she says it certainly won’t be her last. 

As of October, Red Cross has distributed more than 1 million relief items like diapers, bug spray, cleaning supplies and comfort kits across six states impacted by Hurrican Irma.

Photos by Jessica Piffero, American Red Cross of Central California