Puzzles Pieces and Partnerships


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


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