Unprecedented wildfires continue to burn out of control across the west, causing much devastation and forcing hundreds of thousands of people to leave their homes, especially in California, Oregon and Washington. It could be weeks before people can return home, and the American Red Cross is there to support them.
Local volunteers, Ken Keller and Carlos Olvera, are leaving today at 12 p.m. from the Red Cross offices in Moline. This is Carlos’ first deployment. They are making the almost 30-hour drive to Portland, Oregon in a Next Generation Red Cross emergency response vehicle, which is being deployed for the first time.
Ken and Carlos are joining 52 volunteers from the Illinois region who are currently deployed to help with disasters across the country, including California, Texas, Louisiana and Oregon. Among these volunteers is Ken’s wife Sandy, who is providing virtual disaster mental health services to people affected by the wildfires.
The Red Cross has mobilized more than 2,000 Red Cross volunteers to assist communities impacted by disasters in the U.S. This includes 900 disaster workers who are helping with relief efforts in California, Oregon and Washington.
Once they reach Portland, the emergency response vehicles will aid in disaster relief to mobilize supplies such as food, water and snacks, clean-up kits, and other items. Another team of volunteers from the Illinois region will be leaving tomorrow from Moline, Illinois. So far, a total of four emergency response vehicles from our region have been deployed to help with relief efforts in Oregon.
Our work is just beginning. The Red Cross is working closely with partners and local officials to mobilize a massive relief effort across three states to ensure that people have a safe place to stay, food and comfort during this time of uncertainty.
HOW YOU CAN HELP You can help people affected by disasters like wildfires by making a gift to Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. Visit redcross.org, call 800-RED-CROSS, or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
About the American Red Cross of Illinois
The American Red Cross of Illinois serves 12.4 million people in 88 counties in Illinois, Iowa and Missouri including Adams, Bond, Boone, Brown, Bureau, Carroll, Cass, Champaign, Christian, Clark, Clay, Clinton, Cook, Coles, Crawford, Cumberland, DeKalb, De Witt, Douglas, DuPage, Edgar, Effingham, Fayette, Ford, Franklin, Fulton, Green, Grundy, Hamilton, Hancock, Henderson, Henry, Iroquois, Jasper, Jefferson, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Knox, LaSalle, Lake, Lee, Livingston, Logan, Macon, Macoupin, Marion, Marshall, Mason, McDonough, McHenry, McLean, Menard, Mercer, Montgomery, Morgan, Moultrie, Ogle, Peoria, Perry, Piatt, Pike, Putnam, Richland, Rock Island, Sangamon, Schuyler, Scott, Shelby, Stark, Stephenson, Tazewell, Vermillion, Warren, Washington, Whiteside, Will, Williamson Winnebago, Woodford. Iowa: Lee, Muscatine, Scott and Van Buren. Missouri: Clark, Lewis, Marion and Ralls. The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 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 us at Redcross.org/Illinois or visit us on Twitter @RedCrossIL.