The American Red Cross is working around the clock to provide safe shelter and comfort for the hundreds of thousands of people impacted by Hurricane Florence as the threat from the devastating storm continues.
Here are some of their stories:
EVACUEE ONLY WEEKS OLD The number of people residing in a Red Cross shelter in Winston-Salem has increased dramatically since the facility opened. But, even as the number of residents has grown from 24 to 326, one thing hasn't changed: Jah'hi Asad Robinson, born on August 21, has retained his standing as the shelter's youngest resident.
With a newborn only three weeks old, as the threatening hurricane approached the Tar Heel State, his parents, Crystal Rainey and Sylvester Robinson, had no trouble deciding to relocate to the Red Cross shelter that was closest to her family's apartment in the Davidson County town of Thomasville. Sylvester wasn't so sure the family, which includes five other children, needed to leave home. But the severity of the storm has made a believer out of both of them. Red Cross workers provided a crib for the baby and created a separate space for the family.
"It's been wonderful here," Crystal says. "The Red Cross people are so nice."
MOTHER AND DAUGHTER FLEE STORM Rainesha Hunter is sitting on her cot next to her mother, Barbara Hunter, in the Red Cross shelter at Creek Bridge High School, Marion County, calmly crocheting what eventually will be a blanket with lots of intricate patterns. They live about a half hour from the shelter and knew they had to evacuate.
“I knew there as no way we could stay home. No, no, no – not with us living in a mobile home like we do,” Barbara said. Added Rainesha with a knowing nod, “It was time to run. We just didn’t want to take the chance.”
They stayed at their home when Hurricane Matthew came through South Carolina in 2016. “We were trapped and couldn’t get out,” Rainesha said. “I’m not trying to rush it to leave here until it’s safe for us to go home.”
Barbara said she was really surprised when she talked to the shelter staff. “I thought they were being paid, but then I found out they were volunteers, and I said ‘What?’ They’re doing this just because they want to help us?”
THERAPY DOG’S VISIT WELCOME Sally Mueller recently visited the Red Cross shelter at the Grady Cole Center in Charlotte, North Carolina with her trained therapy dog Dover to visit with those impacted by Hurricane Florence. She is from Charlotte and works as a patient advocate at a hospital. She and Dover got a chance to play with some of the children in the shelter. Sally said bringing Dover to the shelter is a simple way to help people in need. “This really makes people happy and if you can bring a smile to people’s faces at times like this, that’s important.”
HOW YOU CAN HELP The Red Cross has launched a massive response to this disaster and depends on financial donations to be able to provide disaster relief immediately. Help people affected by Hurricane Florence by visiting redcross.org, calling 1- 800-RED CROSS or texting the word FLORENCE to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
Donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from this disaster. The Red Cross honors donor intent. Donors can designate their donation to Hurricane Florence relief efforts by choosing that option when donating on redcross.org or on 1-800-RED CROSS.
The best way to ensure your donation will go to a specific disaster is to write the specific disaster name in the memo line of a check. We also recommend completing and mailing the donation form on redcross.org with your check