As floodwaters displaced thousands of Louisiana residents and forced them into shelters, average Americans made their way to Louisiana to answer the call for assistance.
American Red Cross volunteers were joined in Baton Rouge by employees from JetBlue Airlines and they brought a unique new aspect to sheltering in Louisiana.
“We noticed people coming into the shelter with just the clothes they had on, still wet from the flood waters,” said Scott Taylor, a pilot with JetBlue and a volunteer who worked in a Red Cross shelter in Baton Rouge.
The JetBlue volunteers organized a company drive to purchase new socks and fly them down on New Orleans-bound flights.
“Jet blue shipped them down and I went over to the New Orleans airport picked them up and brought them to Baton Rouge,” said Scott. “We started handing them out as part of our donations program.”
The devastating flooding in Louisiana forced thousands of people from their homes with just the few things they could take with them. The American Red Cross along with other organization volunteers provided food, shelter and relief supplies to those affected by the largest natural disaster to hit the United States since Superstorm Sandy.
JetBlue has an active volunteer program that has employees working in local communities around the United States. They partner with schools and community groups to positively impact the lives in their local areas. JetBlue has also partner with the American Red Cross for disaster response.
“We’ve got a disaster response pool of 300 employees who have basic Red Cross training. It was originally aimed at disaster response within JetBlue,” said Scott. “When Louisiana was affected by record floods, JetBlue asked us if we’d go volunteer for two weeks.”
Scott and 18 other JetBlue volunteers deployed to Baton Rouge to help those who had lost nearly everything in the devastating floods.
“In our group there were four or five members who had been activated to do disaster relief before Louisiana, and they were our mentors,” said Scott. “Working in the shelter was an eye opener to say the least.”
For months now, thousands of disaster workers from across the entire country have been in Louisiana helping people affected by the historic flooding.
Since the flooding began, more than 5,000 Red Cross and other volunteers from every state in the country and the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have:
- Served more than 1.3 million meals and snacks.
- Distributed almost 700,000 relief items.
- Provided more than 81,000 overnight stays in 73 emergency shelters, more than the number of overnight stays provided during Superstorm Sandy.
- Handled more than 42,000 calls from people seeking help.
- Provided more than 44,000 health services and emotional support contacts.