The American Red Cross continues to help people in Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi affected by this month’s devastating flooding.
The disaster response spans an area roughly the size of the state of Colorado and the Red Cross is working with the entire response community – federal, state, county and local agencies, other non-profit organizations, churches, area businesses and others – to help coordinate the relief effort and deliver services quickly.
Some of the national partners helping during the flooding response include Islamic Relief USA; Southern Baptist Convention, Salvation Army, Walmart, All Hands Volunteers, Alpha Kappa Psi, AmeriCorps, Buddhist Tzu Chi, Childrens Disaster Services, NAACP, National Baptists Convention of America and Lott Carey, National Association for Latino Elected Officials, NBC USA, Operation Hope, Portlight and Save The Children.
These partners help with things like access and functional needs, clean up and debris removal, casework, emotional care, sheltering, spiritual care, warehousing, volunteering and other disaster functions.
ISLAMIC RELIEF USA LENDS A HAND
Twelve volunteers with Islamic Relief USA came to Louisiana from across the United States to offer disaster assessments, shelter and financial assistance to those affected by the flooding this month.
Hani Hamwi, a disaster response manager deployed from Washington D.C., says Islamic Relief currently has three teams working in partnership with the Red Cross: two doing disaster assessments and one hosting a shelter.
"We have seen a lot of tragedy," says Hamwi. "We were doing a disaster assessment for a home in Caldwell the other day, when the owner came out to speak with us. You could still see the water soaked into the carpet through his open door."
SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION PREPARING MEALS
When large disasters occur, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) dispatches disaster relief kitchen crews to the scene to prepare hot meals that Red Cross volunteers can deliver to those in need. In Alexandria, Louisiana, a Southern Baptist feeding team from the Red River Baptist Association in Arkansas is preparing hundreds of lunch and dinner meals to be delivered into neighborhoods where residents are recovering from the flooding. Kitchen supervisor Harold Johnson said the mobile kitchen is equipped to cook thousands of lunches and dinners each day.
When a disaster strikes, the kitchen team rolls into the area with trailers equipped with ovens, large kettles and all the implements needed to prepare thousands of meals. The Red Cross purchases bulk food for the SBC kitchen teams to turn into steaming hot meals for Red Cross to deliver. Johnson said the partnership with the Red Cross has been in place for 40 years or more. “It’s a good partnership. We each are doing what we do best to help those in need,” he said.
The Red Cross has also partnered with the First Baptist Church in Sterlington, LA to provide hot meals to flood victims in West Monroe. Tom Whitaker, who is leading meal preparation at the church, said that his team prepared approximately 1,800 hot dinners on the first evening. "They have a great spirit," says American Red Cross volunteer Reverend Arthur Turner, who has worked with the Southern Baptist Church on previous Red Cross disaster deployments in Oklahoma and South Carolina. "They prepare great meals for the people. I thank them for their time and hard work."
FRIEND SHIPS UNLIMITED PROVIDING FLOOD RELIEF
In Southwest Louisiana, the Red Cross, Southern Baptist Convention and Friend Ships Unlimited are working together to ensure the needs of those who have been displaced by flooding are being met. Volunteers from Friend Ships are staffing a shelter housed in the Knights of Columbus hall in Vinton, Louisiana. The Southern Baptist Convention has provided a shower trailer for shelter residents and community members have donated items to help in the response effort.
“Our people have a heart for service and want to take care of others,” said Murray Douglas, director of the Friend Ships Sea Hawks program, “and not just their physical needs. We take care of their emotional and spiritual needs as well.”
Friend Ships is a humanitarian relief organization based in Lake Charles, Louisiana. The all-volunteer group working in Calcasieu Parish includes many from the organization’s Sea Hawks program – a 2-year intense disaster response training program for 18 to 25 year olds. Friend Ships partners with other organizations in the community, including the Red Cross, churches and faith-based organizations, and government agencies, to ensure the needs of those affected by disasters are met.
HOW TO HELP
The Red Cross needs the public right now to help support families suffering from disasters right now. Anyone who wants to help people affected by disasters like flooding and countless other crises can make a donation to American 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.
The American Red Cross estimates that spending will fall between $5.5 million and $10 million to help people affected by spring floods and storms across Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana and Tennessee. This is an evolving disaster and these figures are preliminary estimates that are likely to change.
BECOME A RED CROSS VOLUNTEER
Another way people can help is to become an American Red Cross volunteer. The donated time and talent of a Red Cross volunteer can make a real difference in people’s lives. Go to redcross.org to learn more about volunteer opportunities and how to submit a volunteer application.
CORPORATIONS HELP The generous donations from members of the Red Cross Annual Disaster Giving Program (ADGP) and the Disaster Responder Program enable the American Red Cross to prepare communities for disasters big and small, respond whenever and wherever disasters occur and help families during the recovery process.
ADGP $1 Million members are: American Airlines; Anthem Foundation; Boise Paper; Caterpillar Foundation; Costco Wholesale; Delta Air Lines; Disney; Enterprise Rent-A-Car Foundation; FedEx Corporation; The Home Depot; Humble Bundle; LDS Charities; Lowe's Companies, Inc.; Mazda North American Operations; Merck Foundation; Nationwide Foundation; State Farm; Target; UPS; VSP℠ Vision care for life; and Walmart and the Walmart Foundation.
ADGP $500,000 members are: 3M; Altria Group; American Express; Anheuser-Busch Foundation; Aon; Bank of America; BNY Mellon; Capital One; Cisco Foundation; Citi Foundation; ConAgra Foods Foundation; Darden Restaurants Foundation; Discover; Edison International; Farmers Insurance; Ford Motor Company; Grainger; John Deere Foundation; Johnson Controls; Medtronic; Meijer; Mondelēz International Foundation; National Grid; PepsiCo Foundation; Prudential Foundation; San Manuel Band of Mission Indians; Southwest Airlines; Sprint; Sunoco; The TJX Companies, Inc.; United Airlines; United Technologies Corporation; Visa; Wawa; and Wells Fargo.
Disaster Responder Program members are: Alcoa; Almost Family; Astellas USA Foundation; AT&T; AvalonBay Communities, Inc.; AXA; Ball Foundation; BHP Billiton; CarMax; The Clorox Company; Cox Automotive; Duke Energy; Entergy Corporation; General Motors Foundation; Hewlett Packard Enterprise Foundation; Hi-Rez Studios; HP Company Foundation; IBM Corporation; IKEA; Ingersoll Rand Foundation; Interstate All Battery Center; Land O’Lakes, Inc.; Marsh & McLennan Companies; MetLife Foundation; Morgan Stanley; Neiman Marcus Group; New Balance Foundation; Northrop Grumman Corporation; Northwestern Mutual and the Northwestern Mutual Foundation; Procter & Gamble Company; PSEG Foundation; PuroClean Disaster Recovery; Red Heart Yarns; Residence Inn by Marriott; Ryder; Sealed Air; Servpro Industries Inc.; Southeastern Grocers Home of BI-LO Harveys Winn Dixie; Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Foundation, Inc.; TOYOTA; U.S. Bank; and U-Haul International.