MARC Helps Flood Victims

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When the late December floods hit rural Missouri, a veteran of two foreign wars (Korea and Vietnam) lost his home and all his possessions. In frigid temperatures, this nearly blind American hero slept in his car for over a week, until he visited a Red Cross organized Multi-Agency Resource Center (MARC). The Red Cross set up seven MARCs after the holiday floods so those affected could receive support and service from dozens of relief organizations at one location. At the Jefferson County MARC, the Red Cross registered the veteran at a local hotel, provided money for meals and helped him begin his recovery plan. He was just one of thousands the Red Cross assisted after the late December floods. By the middle of February, the Red Cross had provided 707 overnight shelter stays; served nearly 57,000 meals and snacks and distributed 27,919 relief items including shovels, rakes, gloves and tarps for those affected. What would have happened to this veteran had the Red Cross not responded. Please support our lifesaving work – donate online at Redcross.org.

International Humanitarian Law week at Washington University

Written by: Skylar Dittrich, Red Cross Club Member

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International Humanitarian Law (IHL) remains an important part of international relations today because it supervises and manages behaviors in combative situations in order to minimize civilian casualties and wartime devastation.  The Red Cross plays a large role in mitigating these damages through IHL by providing a variety of services – most prominently, health care in disaster situations.  Keeping in mind the importance of the Red Cross in diminishing the destructive effect of wartime actions, the Washington University in St. Louis American Red Cross Club decided to participate in IHL week in order to teach students on campus about health care in danger zones.

 

To tackle this task, the clubs first formed a six person IHL committee which held two major meetings, each an hour and a half long.  The first meeting consisted of brainstorming various activities to teach students about key aspects of IHL, and the second meeting consisted of the specific logistics of these activities.  Through this process, the committee decided on three key events – tabling, first aid training, and a documentary showing. 

 

In the first event, club members tabled at two campus locations, informing students about the purpose of the American Red Cross and IHL, handing out IHL t-shirts, and running the Wounded Soldier Simulation.  During this simulation, WU students were given 5 notecards depicting possible wounds that occur in danger zones.  These students needed to put themselves in the shoes of a humanitarian aid officer transporting wounded soldiers and evaluate the severity of the wounds and decide the order in which to transport the wounded.

 

In the first aid training event, the club gave students free first aid kids, and EST (a student run EMT organization) taught a basic first aid lesson to students on campus.  Through this, students learned many basic skills – such as the Heimlich and how to treat heat stroke, hypothermia, cuts and lacerations, sprains, and even broken bones.

 

The final event of the week was a documentary showing of “Living in Emergency: Stories of Doctors without Borders.”  This film not only highlights the struggles of providing healthcare without resources but also the difficulties of working as a doctor working on a small team in the harsh conditions of danger zones.  The showing of this film emphasized both the struggles and importance of IHL and healthcare in wartime by looking at the situation through the eyes of medical professionals. 

 

Throughout the course of the week, the American Red Cross club was able to reach a large variety of students.  The club handed out 50 total t-shirts advertising IHL and roughly 90 flyers, as well as reaching much of the student population via painting the Underpass (a campus location for announcing events) and flyering in dorms.  Furthermore, roughly 30 WU students participated in the Wounded Soldier Simulation (with even more students stopping by that did not participate), and roughly 20 students attended both the Rapid First Aid training and the documentary viewing.   Overall, the Red Cross Club is excited with the turnout and looks forward to participating in IHL again next year, hoping to reach even more of the WU population through IHL programming.

Milwaukee Volunteer Tackles the Logistics of Disasters on Month-Long Deployment to Missouri

Posted on by American Red Cross Wisconsin Region

By Max Seigle, American Red Cross Public Affairs Volunteer

It’s a role you don’t always see in the headlines when it comes to American Red Cross disaster help. But if you ask volunteer, Phyllis Wiggins, she’ll tell you Logistics is vital to ensure clients get help.

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“We get you the people, places and things you need to be successful on the operation,” Wiggins said in a recent interview with Red Cross Public Affairs.

Wiggins, of Milwaukee, spent a month helping with flood disaster relief in the St. Louis area. She left in late December and served as a Logistics Manager at the Red Cross headquarters in the city.

“If you need a 26-foot truck to load things around, Logistics gets that for you,” Wiggins said.

Requests also included more basic things, like food, bleach, gloves and comfort items for children staying at Red Cross shelters.

“We actually had to go out and make a run for coloring books and crayons,” she said.

Wiggins said Logistics plays a big role in securing locations for shelters and assistance centers during disaster relief. She explained the Red Cross works with community partners to find places, like schools, churches and office buildings. The Red Cross also had its own technology team to equip those facilities. On her deployment to St. Louis, Wiggins said churches, especially, rose to the occasion to offer space. She was also amazed with additional support from corporate donors.

“I’ve been on some operations where people were just begging for help – just trying to dig up that big truck stuff. Here, it was just never an issue,” Wiggins said.

Wiggins recalled one day where a fellow Wisconsin Red Cross volunteer, Megan Besset, was on the phone working to get meals for the mission. What came next was a major delivery, and all of it donated.

“All of a sudden we had food from Popeyes, White Castle, pizza, Italian…” she said.

Wiggins worked about eight to 11 hours a day on her deployment. She was even on the ground New Year’s Eve and Day.

“If you’re doing good as the year rolls over, then the year is going to be good for you,” Wiggins said.

It’s clearly “Mission First” for Wiggins. And serving behind the scenes in Logistics is a role she’s happy to take on with a humble nature.

“It’s more important that people get help, that they feel safe, that they feel take care of,” Wiggins said.

“That is much more important than getting a slap on the back or a Thank You.”

Thank you Phyllis for proudly representing the American Red Cross in Missouri.

This month, the American Red Cross has many volunteer opportunities, including becoming a disaster responder, supporting military troops, and many more. Red Cross volunteers are united by their service and the feeling that in changing others’ lives, their lives are also changed. To learn more, visit redcross.org/volunteer.

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.