Red Cross Meets Changing Needs of Communities During Flood Relief

IMG_1513As flood waters recede and needs change, so does the Red Cross service delivery plan. While visiting an evacuated community in West Alton where clean up supplies were being delivered, it was discovered that more than 80 people, who had not evacuated or had been able to return home, were in need of food.

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On one side of Hwy 67 there is a community whose homes were not completely flooded, several feet of water in the basements was not keeping their homes from being livable, but the only road to reach them is still flooded out. They have been boating over to Parsons Pit Stop for supplies as needed. Additionally, on the drier side of the Hwy, more families have been waiting patiently as their utilities are slowly being restored. When talking to Chris Redd from the Rivers Pointe Fire District , Red Cross volunteers found an unmet need and were able to immediately provide the relief needed.

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That very evening, a Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicle delivered 100 meals to provide dinner, and beginning 1/5/16 until such time as we are no longer needed, lunch and dinner will be provided to the community.

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An Island Run

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Walt Davis is a Red Cross volunteer from Kansas City, and has been part of the Emergency Response team delivering meals to an isolated population. The Red Cross delivers between 50 and 60 meals each day to a boat, which then makes it’s way to Kaskaskia Island residents who have been stranded since massive flooding closed the only bridge connecting the island to the rest of the community.

“We use whatever we need to get the food those who need it. It’s certainly the most unusual delivery I’ve ever made for the Red Cross,” Walt said. “High water won’t stop us from helping those in need.”

 

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Since the beginning of the New Year, Red Cross has provided more than 21,000  meals and snacks to people whose lives have been interrupted by this disaster.

At this time, the American Red Cross of Eastern Missouri is fortunate to have volunteers who are trained, ready and willing to support our response to the flooding in our communities. We thank individuals and community groups who are willing to support this effort and encourage them to register to become new volunteers to help with future disaster responses.

Learn more and register online at redcross.org/volunteer and complete the online application.

 

Red Cross Assisting in Relief Efforts

ShelterLOUIS, MO, Monday, January 4, 2016 – American Red Cross volunteers are going through neighborhoods providing meals and cleanup kits for those affected by the massive flooding that struck portions of Missouri and Illinois.

Anyone needing flood-related assistance should call the Red Cross at 314-516-2700 or United Way 2-1-1 for additional resources.

On Monday, the Red Cross is operating shelters in Arnold and Cape Girardeau in Missouri and Granite City and Murphysboro in Illinois.

So far the Red Cross has provided 641 overnight stays in shelters and 19,410 meals and snacks in response to this flooding.

“Our focus continues to be providing comfort and assistance to those who suffered in this massive flooding,” said Cindy Erickson, Regional CEO, Red Cross of Eastern Missouri. “Again, we want to thank everyone who has taken time to help those in need. We couldn’t do it without you.”

Red Cross disaster assessment teams continue checking flood damage to homes to help determine the extent and location of assistance needed. Red Cross volunteers also will be meeting with those affected to help them plan their next steps in the recovery process.

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Puzzles Pieces and Partnerships

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Dan Hyatt, Red Cross Volunteer & Jo Ann Hahs, Southern Baptist Volunteer

During disaster response, we often get asked the question “how do you do it all?” Making sure peoples basic needs of shelter and food are met is a big operation, and the answer is we don’t do it all. There is not a single agency that can meet all of the needs of multiple communities alone. Partner relationships are a vital piece of ensuring peoples basic needs are met in an emergency.

 

In the last week, Red Cross has provided more than 19,400 meals and snacks to people affected by the catastrophic flooding across Missouri and Illinois. These meals are feeding people staying in a Red Cross shelters, or being delivered in Emergency Response Vehicles, directly into the neighborhoods where people are cleaning up their homes. But Red Cross didn’t do that alone.

This large number of meals is made possible by working directly with Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (SBDR) Mobile Kitchen units. Your dollars make it possible for Red Cross to purchase large quantities of food, which are delivered to SBDR Kitchens where food is prepared into thousands of meals, loaded into Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicles and then delivered to the communities in need.

Jo Ann Hahs is one of the many Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers helping coordinate these hot meals. A member of the organization for more than 10 years, Jo Ann answered her first call to help in 2003. “I believe its important that people see that someone cares,” she said when asked why she does this type of volunteer work. “The personal satisfaction of helping, combined with the wonderful people I meet on every assignment is another reason I keep doing this work year after year.”

Think about all the little pieces working together, like a really intense puzzle, one of the large ones with 1000 pieces. We are thankful for the many volunteers, like Jo Ann, willing to plug in for a day or two or 10, with specialized skills and resources, making an entire disaster response possible.

Photographer: Wes Schaefer, Red Cross Public Affairs Volunteer

About the American Red Cross of Eastern Missouri:
Celebrating 97 years of dedicated service in the region, the American Red Cross prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies. Thousands of volunteers and generous donors provide community support services including disaster relief, preparedness efforts, training in lifesaving skills, service to military families and blood services. The Greater St. Louis Region covers St. Louis City, and 66 surrounding counties in Missouri and Illinois. All disaster relief services are free. To learn more about the Red Cross and how you can help, contact your local Red Cross by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS
(733-2767) or visit
redcross.org.

Communication is Critical

 

HamOperator1Communication is critical during a disaster, and most often it’s limited. Amateur Radio operators, also known as ham operators, are many times the only source for getting critical information from a disaster back into the headquarters. Red Cross has many great volunteer partners who have been working tirelessly to keep the communication open from multiple shelter locations, providing details about the needs of the affected community.

Disaster response and the coordination of services are possible because of partnerships like this. Volunteers, like Steve and Bill, who donate their time, equipment, and skills are working tirelessly to keep lines of communication open around the clock.

Photo: Steve Cole – Volunteer Amateur Radio operator from St. Louis & Suburban radio club (SLSRC) and Bill Meunier – ARES

Photographer: K.N. Holderby, Red Cross Public Affairs Volunteer

The Luna Family; A Story of Hope

 
LunaSunday, January 3, marks one week since Tamara and her family were rescued from the floodwaters that quickly overtook their home. As she was being whisked to safety with her children, Tamera was scared and uncertain about what would happen next. “I didn’t know where we would go and I knew there was no money to pay for a motel. We didn’t even have a car anymore,” she said. When she and her family stepped out of the boat, there were people there who gave them hope. Directing them to a bus, which took them to the Red Cross Shelter a few miles away in Granite City, MO.

LunaFamilyThat night, there were 90 people who sought shelter together, and today there are still many people, like Tamara and her family, who continue to need the Red Cross shelter. “The water is going down, but not quickly,” said Tamara. “We just don’t know when we will be able to go home, and worse than that, is the feeling that we don’t know what we will be going home to.”

Red Cross continues to provide a warm dry place to sleep for these families whose lives are riddled with uncertainty. “The volunteers have been so comforting and kind. Just knowing we don’t have to worry about where we will sleep and how we will feed the kids is truly a relief,” said Tamara. “We can focus on what we can do to move forward since we don’t have to worry about these basic needs.”

This comfort, provided by the Red Cross, is only possible through the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors. It is only possible because of YOU. Your monetary gift is transformed into a hot meal, a dry warm blanket; Hope.

*Granite City Shelter

Photographer: K.N. Holderby, Red Cross Public Affairs  Volunteer

Halloween Life Savers (Not the Candy)

The McGraths

Halloween was a little different for me this year. My husband, son and I spent the day with firemen from Engine House No. 32 of the St. Louis Fire Department in the Tower Grove East neighborhood, installing smoke alarms and educating residents on home fire safety. This was part of a national home fire campaign to increase the number of working smoke alarms in homes across America.

Halloween Smoke Alarm Installation Event

Stanley King is one of the residents who called the Red Cross to request a smoke detector. A widower in his late eighties, Stanley couldn’t reach the existing smoke detectors in his home to test them. He wasn’t sure they were working. The firemen quickly determined they weren’t working and replaced them with new ones that last for 10 years, with no need to change any batteries. While they were installing the alarms, I talked to Stanley about the importance of making an escape plan so that he would know exactly what to do in case of a fire, no matter where he might be in his house. We also reviewed a home safety checklist and talked about what to do during a tornado.

We visited nine homes on Saturday with the firemen. Several of the homes were occupied by older single women and some had multi-generational families in them. One house had five children living in it and it was clear that the family was living in poverty, just barely getting by. There were no working smoke detectors in the house and the kids didn’t have an escape plan. So we installed three alarms and I talked to the kids about fire safety.

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Every home we visited on Halloween needed smoke alarms but couldn’t afford them. It was very satisfying to know that the few hours we spent installing alarms and educating people could one day save a life. The folks we met were attentive, interested in home safety and grateful for this special Halloween treat.