With the frequency of severe disasters on the rise, hundreds of thousands of people in 2019 turned to the American Red Cross for food, shelter and recovery support. Every step of the way, the Palmetto SC Region of the Red Cross was there to help.
Large disasters like western wildfires, coastal hurricanes, and tornadoes and flooding in the Midwest meant the Red Cross and its partners had open shelters for more than 300 days this year, and disasters threatened so many people that the Red Cross sent over 320 million severe weather alerts through its free mobile apps.
In just a couple of weeks’ time, the Palmetto SC Region of the Red Cross provided more than 4,300 overnight shelter stays with its partners, served more than 30,000 meals and snacks, mobilized 635 volunteers, and distributed more than 1,330 Clean Up kits to help people impacted by Hurricane Dorian.
In 2019, the Palmetto Region of the American Red Cross was supported by over 2,100 active volunteers. Over 1,100 of those volunteers are disaster volunteers.
“Everyone in this community has stepped up this year to help. From rolling up a sleeve to donate blood, to helping a victim of a disaster, to baking cookies for our military and their families.” said Louise Welch Williams, regional chief executive officer. “I have been so humbled by the compassion and care our volunteers have given to so many in need this year.”
‘THEY JUST KNOW YOU NEED HELP’ When large disasters devastated families in the U.S. this year, nearly 9,000 Red Cross workers — 90 percent of them volunteers — left their homes to:
- Serve over 1.1 million meals and snacks with partners
- Distribute over 354,000 relief items
- Make over 92,000 contacts to support health, mental health, spiritual care and disability needs
- Provide over 79,000 overnight shelter stays with partners
HOME FIRES MOST FREQUENT DISASTER Home fires are the nation’s most frequent disaster, accounting for the vast majority of disasters that the Red Cross responds to in the U.S. This year, the Red Cross of South Carolina has provided recovery support for more than 7,000 people affected by home fires.
Our work continues today, as families face increased fire risks from heating equipment, decorations and cooking during the holidays and winter months. That’s why we’re working to keep people safe through our Home Fire Campaign. With generous support and local partners, Red Cross volunteers go door-to-door to install free smoke alarms and help families create home fire escape plans. Since July, Red Cross of South Carolina team members:
- Saved 71 lives through the Home Fire Campaign since 2014
- Installed more than 4,500 smoke alarms
- Made more than 1,300 homes safer through home fire safety visits
COLLETING LIFESAVING BLOOD AND HELPING ARE MILITARY AND VETERANS The Red Cross of South Carolina was in communities every day collecting lifesaving blood. Since January, the Red Cross of SC hosted 3,650 drives and collected nearly 75,000 units of blood.
Since January, are team serving our Armed Forces have helped nearly 6,300 military families by providing over 14,100 services. The team has also briefed over 40,000 military, veterans and their families on Red Cross services.
HELPING DORIAN SURVIVORS IN THE BAHAMAS As part of the world’s largest humanitarian network, the American Red Cross continues to help Hurricane Dorian survivors in the Bahamas. So far, it has committed millions of dollars and deployed more than 40 disaster responders to support the global Red Cross and Red Crescent network’s relief efforts (visit redcross.org/dorian). Dorian was among 17 international disasters and humanitarian crises that the American Red Cross responded to this year.
RECONNECTING FAMILIES DURING EMERGENCIES In 2019, the American Red Cross helped reconnect over 17,000 family members separated by international conflict, disaster or migration — plus hundreds more following U.S. disasters. Through its Hero Care Network, the Red Cross also provided emergency communication services for nearly 100,000 military families, helping service members connect with family and facilitate their return home during critical times like a death in the family or birth of a child.
HOW YOU CAN HELP Help people in need by making a financial donation at redcross.org or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). For volunteer opportunities, contact your local chapter. In addition, this year’s severe weather and disasters caused about 34,000 blood donations to go uncollected because of cancelled blood drives. Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood, and the Red Cross urges all eligible individuals to donate. Make an appointment at RedCrossBlood.org
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation’s blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization – not a government agency – and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org/SC or @RedCrossSC