Hundreds of American Red Cross volunteers are helping people affected by devastating and historic flooding in West Virginia and fast-moving wildfires in California, which collectively have destroyed hundreds of homes and forced thousands of residents to seek shelter elsewhere.
Five volunteers from the Western and Central New York Region are assisting with West Virginia flood relief. From the Central New York Chapter, Syracuse resident Paula Hueber, a Registered Nurse, has arrived in the affected area to provide Health Services. Dan Harmony of Cicero is assigned virtually in Financial and Statistical Information Management. From the Greater Rochester Chapter, Lucille Frisicano of Webster is in West Virginia assisting with Health Services, and Bonnie Nolen of Rush is working virtually as a Call Agent. From the Western New York Chapter, Diane Sargent of Lockport is helping with Disaster Assessment.
Nearly 300 people are in Red Cross and community shelters in the two affected states. Red Cross volunteers are also serving meals, distributing relief supplies and providing health services and emotional and mental health support. Going forward, Red Cross caseworkers will also be meeting with individuals to help them plan their next steps to move out of shelters through the provision of one-on-one support and guidance. The Red Cross is also coordinating very closely with partners like the Southern Baptist Convention and AmeriCorps to lend a hand, and help to manage and coordinate the many resources needed to support disasters of this scope and scale.
“The lives of thousands of people have been turned upside down by deadly floods and wildfires, and Red Cross volunteers are there to provide comfort and support, while making sure they have a safe place to stay and food to eat,” said Brad Kieserman, vice president, Disaster Services Operations and Logistics for the Red Cross. “Our relief efforts are just beginning, and we will be there in the coming days and weeks supporting people affected by these tragic disasters as they begin to recover and rebuild.”
HOW TO HELP These are large and complex relief responses and the Red Cross needs the public’s support now. Those who would like to help the Red Cross support people affected by disasters like flooding, wildfires and countless other crises can make a donation to Red Cross Disaster Relief. People can donate by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. These donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small.