Contact: Diane Concannon, American Red Cross - North Jersey Region
Telephone Office: (609) 951-2116
Telephone Cell: (609) 206-4043
FOR MEDIA ONLY
Princeton, September 18, 2012 - The American Red Cross has a massive relief response underway along the Gulf Coast where Isaac’s strong winds and relentless rain are continuing to leave flooded homes and thousands of evacuees in its wake.
Overnight more than 4,700 people stayed in as many as 80 Red Cross or community shelters in seven states. More people may need shelter today as evacuations continue. In addition to staffing shelters, the more than 3,000 Red Cross disaster workers have already served more than 22,000 meals and snacks.
“We need the public’s help,” reported Charley Shimanski, senior vice president for Red Cross Disaster Services. “We expect to be in the Gulf Coast region for weeks helping people recover from Isaac, even as we are still helping people out west affected by wildfires. It’s been a busy summer and our costs are growing by the hour. People can help by donating today.”
People can click or text to donate by visiting www.redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or texting REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
MORE HELP ON THE WAY While focusing on providing emergency sheltering and feeding, the Red Cross is also starting to move more volunteers, equipment and relief supplies into communities as the storm exits.
“Before the storm struck, we put workers, equipment, vehicles and trailers full of supplies just outside the impact area,” Shimanski said. “As the storm moves out of some communities, we’re starting to move assistance in and we’ll be providing people with food, water and relief supplies in the days ahead.”
The Red Cross sent 311,000 ready-to-eat meals to the area, and the Southern Baptist Convention has mobile kitchens capable of producing thousands of meals a day prepositioned to serve cooked meals when it is safe to do so. Other community partners assisting along the Gulf include AmeriCorps, Islamic Relief USA, NAACP and the National Baptist Convention USA, helping with things like sheltering, feeding, driving disaster vehicles and logistics.
NEW JERSEY VOLUNTEERS ARE HELPING The Red Cross North Jersey Region has 22 disaster workers helping in states along the Gulf Coast, including volunteers driving two emergency response vehicles (ERVs) to join the fleet of more than 180 ERVs activated for this response. With the addition of 13 disaster workers from the Red Cross South Jersey Region, the state of New Jersey has 35 disaster workers helping in the area.
BLOOD DONATIONS NEEDED Isaac has already forced the cancellation of blood drives along the Gulf Coast. Depending on the storm’s path, additional blood collections may be cancelled, causing a shortfall of blood in the affected areas. All eligible donors in parts of the country unaffected by Isaac are encouraged to call 1-800-RED CROSS or visit us online at redcrossblood.org today to schedule an appointment to give blood.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies more than 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 join our blog at blog.redcross.org.
About the American Red Cross North Jersey Region:
The American Red Cross North Jersey Region provides programs and services throughout the counties of Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union and Warren, with a combined population of 5.7 million. The region trains and mobilizes more than 6,000 volunteers who support the delivery of services in the community. Last year, the Red Cross North Jersey Region responded to 479 local disasters, helping 1,296 families displaced by home fires; educated 25,732 community members about disaster preparedness; collected 25,079 units of blood through blood drives and Red Cross Blood Donation Centers; helped 1,587 military families send emergency messages, receive financial assistance, and get counseling and referrals; and trained 138,620 individuals with life-saving skills in CPR, AED use, first aid and aquatics.