Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Red Cross' response in the Midwest

The American Red Cross’ top priority when responding to disasters is to provide food, shelter and emotional support for the people whose lives have been disrupted.  This is why after disasters, it is our goal to open shelters in the damaged areas within hours so that we can begin to provide people with food, water, and a safe place to stay.

Photo courtesy of MSNBC
More than 100 people spent Monday night in a Red Cross shelter in Joplin after the tornadoes tore through the Midwest and more than 50 people sought refuge in Minnesota on Sunday.  We know that meeting these basic needs of people is extremely important to their recovery, but what is often over looked after disasters are the individual’s mental health.  This is why we encourage trained health services and mental health workers to join the Red Cross as volunteers so that we can be sure that they are being deployed to areas where they can help people cope in the aftermath of disasters.
All of this couldn’t be done without the financial support of the Red Cross’ communities across the country, and currently the Red Cross estimates that it will spend as much as $41 million responding to the disasters which have occurred since March 31.  To date, about $33.6 million has been raised in donations for these responses, which includes  the Red Cross’ responses to the myriad of disasters which have hit the United States this spring, including the wildfires in Texas, the tornadoes which devastated areas of the South, the Mississippi River flooding response, and helping people affected by this past weekend’s tornadoes
Any donation, large or small, will help with our relief effort. For example, $3 can provide a comfort kit for someone in a disaster. $6 can cover the cost of a blanket, $10 the cost of a hot meal.

To watch an interview with Red Cross volunteer, Janet Bartee, click here!

To make a donation, visit www.redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
Contributions may also be sent to your local Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.
For more information about volunteering, please visit us online or contact Mary Walls at wallsma@usa.redcross.org or 878-2140.

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