By Brett Murray, Communications Intern
The citizens of Ferguson, Mo., encountered more turmoil in the past weeks than most communities experience in decades. Yet in spite of a crisis that captured worldwide attention, the chaos and violence of recent nights didn’t crush the strong and optimistic spirit of Ferguson residents.
To help the community, the American Red Cross joined with other regional organizations last week to open a resource and respite center at the Dellwood Recreation Complex, just east of Ferguson. At the Dellwood center, the Red Cross, United Way, Salvation Army, Urban League and other agencies, came together to offer residents bill payment assistance, counseling sessions, shelter and relocation services and meals, which the Red Cross provided. Throughout the week, we provided snacks and meals for more than 3,200 residents of Ferguson.
Though most citizens came for services, many used the opportunity to relax and get their minds off of the events of recent nights. The center also hosted a Kid Zone and lounge, where kids could be kids again, and parents could take a break, without fearing for their children’s safety.
At the center, all hoped their town would become safe and quiet again; children wanted to return to school and adults to work. Unfortunately, last week that wasn’t an option. Riots, protests, police barricades continued though the weekend.
Although the Red Cross couldn’t give an “all-clear” that residents so desperately wanted, we, with our partner agencies, certainly gave real comfort to those struggling to cope. We achieved the Red Cross mission: alleviating suffering in the face of emergency.
The drop-In center was open last week from 10:00am to 2:00pm through Sunday. We all hope it doesn’t need to reopen this week.
To see more photos of our response, click here.