Days after Hurricane Dorian barreled up the East Coast, the Red Cross of South Carolina continues to help people recover after the damage left behind. The Palmetto State was fortunate that there was not widespread damage, but there are still nearly 40 homes across the state that were severely damaged or destroyed.
The Red Cross works to prepare ahead, during, and after a storm. Over the past two weeks, more than 630 volunteers from South Carolina and around the country worked to help shelter, feed, and mobilize resources in the state.
“There are a lot of people that basically don’t know what to do and The Red Cross shows up and actually helps people and shows them the steps back to recovery,” said Lucas Collins, a volunteer from Ohio who worked in a shelter in Charleston, S.C.
As a part of that response, nearly 50 Emergency Response Vehicles were brought to South Carolina to help stock shelters and respond to the needs of those impacted.
There were 32 shelters opened across the state of South Carolina and more than 4,300 people stayed in those shelters during the evacuation order and height of the storm.
“At first I was kind of down about coming to a shelter, but the experience was fantastic,” said Arthur Saunders, a shelter client. “When you give to The Red Cross, it is such a blessing. It has been blessing me now. I can’t say much more than that."
During the time the shelters were open, The Red Cross served nearly 35,000 meals and snacks to those shelter residents. Deanna Brown is a mother of nine and her family’s home was damaged by Hurricane Dorian. A tree crashed through the back of their home leaving no place for them to go. Brown and most of her children were welcomed at a Red Cross managed shelter in Charleston.
“It was devastating for me. I have such a large family, and this was most of what we had,” said Brown. “The Red Cross has been great, and that help has made it a lot easier for me while I process everything.”
The Red Cross work will continue as families with damaged homes will need help and support. Red Cross volunteers will spend time with those impacted victims and provide the help they need based on the situation. Families like the Murchisons. Bridgette Murchison says her family was asleep in their home along Stratton Drive in North Charleston when a tree crashed through their home during the height of the storm. “It is something that will stick with me because it was very frightening. The tree almost crashed through my children’s room,” said Murchison. “The Red Cross help is huge for us it will help us with some clothes, food, and hopefully getting out of a hotel and back into a home.”
The Red Cross response didn’t just take place in South Carolina but up and down the East Coast. In total, 171 Red Cross managed, and community evacuation shelters were opened in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia. Nearly 40,000 overnight stays for Hurricane Dorian were provided during that time.
NEED FOR BLOOD Severe weather like Hurricane Dorian have forced the cancellation of blood drives and decrease donor turnout in affected areas. In South Carolina, the storm forced cancellations of dozens of Red Cross blood drives and donation centers resulting in nearly 1,100 uncollected blood and platelet donations. To meet the needs in these impacted areas and throughout the country, the Red Cross asks individuals to give blood if it is safe to do so. There is a need for blood and platelet donations right now.
Appointments can be made by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS.
HOW CAN YOU HELP
American Red Cross Disaster Relief is provided through the generosity of donors. You can help support the ongoing relief efforts of disasters like Hurricane Dorian by calling 1-800-RED CROSS to donate by phone, texting RedCross or Dorian to 90999 to make a $10 donation thru your cell phone provider or visiting www.RedCross.org to make a financial contribution online.
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 redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.