Volunteer Response from NEO Continues to Grow

Red Cross Relief Operations Continue In Texas and the Southeast

The dual disasters caused by Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma have mobilized thousands of Red Cross workers, including 60 from Northeast Ohio.

Among the volunteers providing assistance to residents of Texas is Manny Andrews of Akron.

IMG_3752

Akron resident and Red Cross volunteer Manny Andrews

Manny can be seen in this video, helping distribute meals to people in neighborhoods near Houston, where the need for help continues to be great, more than three weeks after Hurricane Harvey made landfall.

“They’re just basically cleaning up, and we’re just providing food for them,” said Manny, who  has served with the United States Marine Corps.  “It definitely feels good to know at least I’m doing something.  It’s not a lot, but it’s something they appreciate.”

SMLXVol

Red Cross volunteer Jennifer Hatfield with a hurricane-impacted resident in Brunswick, GA.

Among the Northeast Ohio volunteers helping people affected by Hurricane Irma is Jennifer Hatfield of Ashland.  She is seen in this photo, talking with a woman who was fishing in the Fancy Bluff Creek in Brunswick, Georgia.

It’s the first time the Ohio State Highway Patrol dispatcher has been assigned to a large disaster relief operation.  “We’re helping a lot of Georgia’s impoverished population,” Jennifer said.

The recovery effort is expected to last for months, and the Red Cross is committed to providing the services needed to help people put their lives back together.  But it’s going to take the help of many trained volunteers.  Zero to Hero training sessions continue to be held throughout Northeast Ohio.  Visit redcross.org/neo and click the VOLUNTEER tab to begin the application process.

Here is the latest information on the Red Cross hurricane relief efforts:

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma

  • In the last three weeks, the Red Cross and community partners have provided more than 934,000 overnight stays in emergency shelters due to hurricanes. Shelters were opened in 8 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
  • The Red Cross has served more than 3 million meals and snacks to people in need.
  • More than 6,400 Red Cross disaster workers and almost 300 emergency response vehicles are on the ground right now, helping thousands of people affected by these storms.
  • More than 73 million hurricane and flood alerts have been issued through Red Cross mobile apps for Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

Hurricane Harvey

  • Overnight, more than 4,600 people stayed in 25 Red Cross and partner shelters across Texas and Louisiana. To date, there have been nearly 394,000 overnight shelter stays provided for Hurricane Harvey.
  • Along with our partners, we have served more than 2.3 million meals and snacks in Texas and Louisiana.
  • More than 3,500 Red Cross disaster workers are on the ground in Texas and Louisiana, with almost 280 more on the way.
  • More than 170 emergency response vehicles have been activated to help deliver meals and relief supplies across the hardest hit areas of Texas and Louisiana.
  • Mental health and health services professionals have provided nearly 76,000 contacts to provide support and care to people in Texas and Louisiana.
  • We’ve distributed nearly 655,000 relief items like diapers, bug spray, cleaning supplies, coolers, and comfort kits containing deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste and other hygiene items, in Texas and Louisiana.
  • The Red Cross has already distributed $45 million in financial assistance to more than 100,000 qualified households who needed immediate help. This assistance has helped more than 365,000 people including more than 10,000 households headed by military veterans.

Hurricane Irma

  • Overnight, almost 3,600 people were provided refuge in 55 government and Red Cross shelters across Florida, Georgia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. This includes:
    • In Florida, more than 3,200 people in 47evacuation shelters.
    • In Georgia, 24 people in one shelter.
    • On the U.S. Virgin Islands, 162 people in four evacuation shelters.
    • In Puerto Rico, more than 182 people in three evacuation shelters.
  • To date, evacuation centers have provided more than half a million (541,000) overnight stays to people needing a safe place to go.
  • Along with our partners, we have served more than 747,000 meals and snacks across six states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
  • We’ve distributed more than 88,000 relief items like diapers, bug spray, cleaning supplies, coolers, and comfort kits containing deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste and other hygiene items across six states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
  • Mental health and health services professionals have provided more than 16,000 contacts to provide support and care to those affected across six states and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
  • Nearly 3,000 Red Cross workers are responding to Irma now, with more than 300 more volunteers on the way.
  • More than 120 emergency response vehicles have been activated to help.

 

 

 

Donate Blood and Platelets During National Preparedness Month

As the American Red Cross responds to wildfires and historic hurricanes, eligible donors are reminded that giving blood or platelet donations during National Preparedness Month in September is one way to help ensure the Red Cross is prepared to respond to patient emergencies across the country every day.

IMG_3757Hurricane Irma has forced the cancellation of dozens of Red Cross blood drives in the Southeast, resulting in more than 2,100 uncollected blood and platelet donations. Natural disasters like hurricanes can disrupt blood drives and prevent donors from giving, but hospital patients still depend on lifesaving transfusions. Volunteer blood and platelet donors are the only source for blood products needed by hospital patients.

Blood Donors

Individuals in parts of the country unaffected by Hurricane Irma are encouraged to give blood or platelets to help ensure a sufficient blood supply. All blood types are currently needed. Appointments can be made by using the Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS. To help reduce wait times, donors are encouraged to make appointments and use RapidPass® to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questions online, on the day of their donation, from a computer or mobile device at redcrossblood.org/rapidpass.

As a thank-you, those who come to donate blood or platelets through Sept. 30, 2017, will receive a coupon for a free haircut at participating Sport Clips locations. More information is available at redcrossblood.org/sport-clips.

Upcoming blood donation opportunities:

Ashland County

9/18/2017: 12:30 p.m. – 4 p.m., Trinity Lutheran Church, 508 Center Street

9/23/2017: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., Peace Lutheran Church, 1360 Smith Road

9/26/2017: 8:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., Crestview High School, 1575 SR 96

Jeromesville

9/18/2017: 3 p.m. – 7 p.m., Jeromesville United Methodist Church, 40 North Street

Loudonville

9/25/2017: 3 p.m. – 8 p.m., Mohicanville Community Church, 347 State Route 95

9/27/2017: 2 p.m. – 6 p.m., Loudonville Lions Club, 643 Wooster Road

Holmes County

Millersburg

9/19/2017: 2 p.m. – 7 p.m., West Holmes Middle School, 10901 State Route 39

9/21/2017: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., Paint Valley Parts, Ltd, 10850 County Road 320

9/25/2017: 3 p.m. – 7 p.m., Bowman Harness, 6928 County Road 77

9/27/2017: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., Yoder Lumber Company, 4515 Township Road 367

Nashville

9/29/2017: 1 p.m. – 7 p.m., Nashville Church of Christ, 13457 State Route 39

Medina County

Brunswick

9/16/2017: 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., Brunswick Community Recreation & Fitness Center, 3637 Center Road

9/17/2017: 1 p.m. – 5 p.m., Xerxes Athletics, 424 Pearl Road

9/18/2017: 1 p.m. – 7 p.m., Brunswick United Methodist Church, 1395 Pearl Road

Medina

9/19/2017: 11:30 a.m. – 4 p.m., Western Reserve Masonic Community, 4931 Nettleton Road

9/19/2017: 4:30 p.m. – 9 p.m., Fenn Elementary School, 320 N. Spring Grove

9/22/2017: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., Medina Community Recreation Center, 855 Weymouth Road

9/23/2017: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., Living Hope Church, 6628 Wooster Pike

Seville

9/18/2017: 1 p.m. – 7 p.m., Seville United Methodist Church, 74 West Main Street

Summit County

Akron

9/16/2017: 7:45 a.m. – 2:45 p.m., Summit Blood Donation Center, 501 W. Market Street

9/17/2017: 7:45 a.m. – 2:45 p.m., Summit Blood Donation Center, 501 W. Market Street

9/18/2017: 7:45 a.m. – 2:45 p.m., Summit Blood Donation Center, 501 W. Market Street

9/19/2017: 12:45 p.m. – 7:45 p.m., Summit Blood Donation Center, 501 W. Market Street

9/20/2017: 12:45 p.m. – 7:45 p.m., Summit Blood Donation Center, 501 W. Market Street

9/21/2017: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Cleveland Clinic Akron General, 1 Akron General Avenue

9/21/2017: 12:45 p.m. – 7:45 p.m., Summit Blood Donation Center, 501 W. Market Street

9/22/2017: 7:45 a.m. – 2:45 p.m., Summit Blood Donation Center, 501 W. Market Street

9/23/2017: 7:45 a.m. – 2:45 p.m., Summit Blood Donation Center, 501 W. Market Street

9/24/2017: 7:45 a.m. – 2:45 p.m., Summit Blood Donation Center, 501 W. Market Street

9/25/2017: 7:45 a.m. – 2:45 p.m., Summit Blood Donation Center, 501 W. Market Street

9/26/2017: 12:45 p.m. – 7:45 p.m., Summit Blood Donation Center, 501 W. Market Street

9/27/2017: 8:30 a.m. – 2 p.m., East Community Learning Center, 80 Brittain Road

9/27/2017: 12:45 p.m. – 7:45 p.m., Summit Blood Donation Center, 501 W. Market Street

9/28/2017: 8 a.m. – 2 p.m., Manchester High School, 437 West Nimisila Road

9/28/2017: 12:45 p.m. – 7:45 p.m., Summit Blood Donation Center, 501 W. Market Street

9/28/2017: 1 p.m. – 6 p.m., Our Lady of the Elms High School, 1375 West Exchange Street

9/29/2017: 7:45 a.m. – 2:45 p.m., Summit Blood Donation Center, 501 W. Market Street

9/30/2017: 7:45 a.m. – 2:45 p.m., Summit Blood Donation Center, 501 W. Market Street

Barberton

9/21/2017: 10:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., BWX Technologies, 91 Stirling Avenue

Copley

9/25/2017: 1 p.m. – 6 p.m., The HUB Community Center, 3676 Community Lane, Suite 100

Cuyahoga Falls

9/18/2017: 2 p.m. – 7 p.m., St Lukes Lutheran Church, 2121 Sixth Street

Hudson

9/27/2017: 12 p.m. – 6 p.m., Barlow Community Center, 41 South Oviatt

Norton

9/18/2017: 1 p.m. – 6 p.m., Johnson United Methodist Church, 3409 Johnson Road

Tallmadge

9/18/2017: 1 p.m. – 7 p.m., Our Lady of Victory, 73 North Ave

9/22/2017: 7:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., Tallmadge High School, 140 N. Munroe Road

9/30/2017: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., Tallmadge Library, 90 Community Rd

Twinsburg

9/25/2017: 10:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., Twinsburg Public Library, 10050 Ravenna Road

Wayne County

New Pittsburg

9/19/2017: 3 p.m. – 7 p.m., St Peter Lutheran Church, 9451 Ashland Rd.

Orrville

9/20/2017: 12 p.m. – 6 p.m., Student Life Center, 1901 Smucker Rd.

9/21/2017: 1 p.m. – 7 p.m., Kingsway Christian School, 11138 Old Lincoln Way E.

Shreve

9/25/2017: 1:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m., American Legion Post 67, 10094 Shreve Rd.

Wooster

9/16/2017: 8 a.m. – 1 p.m., American Red Cross Wayne County Chapter, 244 West South St.

9/26/2017: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., The Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute, 1328 Dover Rd.

9/28/2017: 10 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., College of Wooster, 1189 Beall Ave.

9/28/2017: 3 p.m. – 8 p.m., College of Wooster, 1189 Beall Ave.

More information about how the Red Cross is responding to hurricanes Harvey and Irma, the western wildfires and other disasters is available at redcross.org.

 How to donate blood

Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

Messy, Stressful, Heartwarming; Volunteers Describe Work in Texas

Disaster Workers Return After Two-Week Deployment 

Furman&Sue

Northeast Ohio Red Cross volunteers Furman Alden and Sue Wisdom

Furman Alden and Sue Wisdom are back home, after spending two weeks on deployment following Hurricane Harvey.  The Northeast Ohio volunteers spent long hours driving an Emergency Response Vehicle through streets in and around Houston, making sure residents had access to warm meals, water and snacks.

“No one sees skin color, religion or politics,” said Sue, a Lake County resident and a veteran of disaster relief operations.  “From the youngest to the oldest, the way people came together to help each other, it’s heartwarming.”

Sue said several little boys volunteered to help distribute meals, going door-to-door after receiving their own meals and learning about the work of the Red Cross.  “They were amazing,” she said.  “I gave them cookies, and one of them said ‘You are so nice.’  That made may day!”

Furman Alden, also a veteran of disaster work, said he has never seen so much debris piled so high in front of so many houses. The Youngstown resident said, “The whole way down the street, they emptied their houses completely.   Furniture, dry wall, everything. It was messy.”

He says they were the first relief workers to reach a neighborhood that had been cut off by flooded roadways.  “We were the first ones to get in there.  They were so happy to see us.”

It was a struggle getting anywhere.  Furman says driving was stressful, due to bumper-to-bumper, stop-and-go traffic.  But the ERV he and Sue drove was a lifeline for so many Texans who lost so much in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

Nearly 6,000 Red Cross disaster workers are in Texas, Florida, and other areas hit hard by Harvey and Hurricane Irma, providing the same life-sustaining services that Sue and Furman delivered.  More volunteers are needed to continue the mission, and expedited training sessions are scheduled throughout the northeast Ohio Region.  Visit our website at redcross.org/neo, and click the VOLUNTEER tab to begin an application.

A message from the Volunteer Services Department:

All volunteers must complete a free online volunteer application, which includes acknowledgement of policy statements and a criminal background check

Volunteers will need to successfully complete disaster training before being eligible for potential deployment, this can include a combination of in-person and/or online training

Depending on adjustment of the real-time needs of the disaster locations and your specific abilities- you may not deploy immediately or at all. 

Call 216-431-3328 for more information.

This video was created on the day Sue Wisdom and Furman Alden left Northeast Ohio in response to the residents of Texas following Hurricane Harvey.

Two Hurricane Relief Efforts Underway

Here are the latest updates.

Hurricane Harvey 2017

 

Over 5,800 Red Cross workers from across the country continue to assist with the relief effort, including 41 individuals from Northeast Ohio. With many more expected to arrive.

Almost 190 emergency response vehicles have been activated to help deliver meals and relief supplies throughout Texas. 100 more are activated to respond to the communities affected by Irma.

 

Hurricane Harvey 2017

Overnight, an estimated 108,000 people were provided refuge from Hurricane Irma in as many as 530 government and Red Cross evacuation centers across 6 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

 

 

Additionally, more than 5,000 people sought refuge in 30 Red Cross and partner shelters across Texas. To date, there have been more than 364,000 overnight shelter stays for Hurricane Harvey.

Hurricane Harvey 2017

If  you would like to volunteer as a member of the Red Cross team, whether in your community or across the nation, get started on your volunteer application, today. Visit redcross.org/neo and click on VOLUNTEER.

 

On Being a Phone Bank Volunteer for Hurricane Harvey Relief

By Doug Bardwell, American Red Cross Volunteer 

Your alarm goes off at 4:30 a.m. and its pitch-dark outside. You shower, shave, fill your travel mug with coffee and head for the garage. Traffic is amazingly light at 6:00 a.m., which is one of the benefits of starting so early, you tell yourself.

You and seven of your fellow Red Crossers are heading to the Cleveland ABC affiliate – WEWS Channel 5 TV, for the start of an all-day Hurricane Harvey fund raiser.  Only the all-night anchors are here, so there’s plenty of parking spaces to choose from.

graphiconscreenThe studio is all set for us.  Tables are arranged, phones are ready and a large flat screen announces the Red Cross website URL, phone number and text information for a quick pledge.

One-by-one, Red Cross volunteers, employees and even a board member file in and take their place at the tables.  Four shifts are planned, so plenty of people can take part in this 6:00 a.m until 11:00 p.m. phone bank effort.Thursday phonebank

In fact, this is our second phone bank. Three days prior, another group of volunteers manned the phones from 4 p.m. until 6 p.m. and were inundated with calls. “It was non-stop calling,” one volunteer said. “As soon as you hung up the call, there was another one ringing on the same line.”

 

Tuesday phone bank

The cameraman comes in and suggests a slight modification to our seating arrangement.  We’ve begun the countdown to going ‘On Air.’

“We’re live in ten seconds,” says the cameraman, and we are off, fielding phone calls from across Northeastern Ohio.

By this time, there’s probably no one in America that hasn’t heard about the devastation being wrought upon Texas and Louisiana.  News anchors compare the total rainfall to the amount of water in Lake Michigan, and another asks you to visualize the amount of water flowing over the Horseshoe Falls at Niagara Falls. Now consider that flow for nine months straight, and you’ve got an idea how much water fell in just a few days in Texas.

“Oh my,” says the first caller. “Thank you for doing this for those poor people.  I only wish I could give more.  They must need so much help.”

Another caller is so distraught that she asks for a few seconds to collect herself, before completing her credit card information.  Actually, many of the callers were quite emotional, knowing the stress and anguish being felt by the thousands of victims.

“I don’t know what those people would do if it weren’t for the Red Cross and the other agencies down there,” says another.  This was a recurrent theme all morning.

By the end of the first shift, you start to compare numbers of callers and amounts raised. Amounts donated ranged from $10 to $1,000 this morning.  Even larger amounts were reported from that first phone bank and possibly will be duplicated later in the day. Northeast Ohio has always been famous for its immense generosity whenever a need like this occurs, and it’s a great privilege to help out those so desperately in need.

You turn over your phone to the next volunteer, already missing the opportunity to talk with more like-minded Ohioans, bound to make a difference for the victims in Texas and Louisiana.

Won’t you join us? The American Red Cross is always looking for more volunteers. Sign up today to donate or to volunteer at http://www.redcross.org/volunteer/become-a-volunteer. 

 

 

 

Volunteer Provides Leadership at Many Levels

Some of us plan barbecues and college football watch parties on Labor Day Weekend.

Not Pam Williams.

Pam2

Pam, chairwoman of the board of the Summit, Portage and Medina Counties Chapter was waiting to find out if she’ll be headed to the Houston area in response to Hurricane Harvey.

As of Monday night, nearly 300 shelters were open in Texas and Louisiana, with about 35,000 people spending the night.  3,760 Red Cross workers have been deployed to the disaster relief operation so far, including 30 from Northeast Ohio.

In addition to her board responsibilities, Pam is a Red Cross volunteer, and, if needed, would deploy as the assistant director for external relations on the Division Response Management Team.

Over the last ten years, Pam has been deployed around 30 times, including Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

“I get to see the country at its worst, but people at their best.” Pam said.

Pam recalled working with Native American tribes in Montana when asked what was the most interesting thing she’s done on deployment.

“Sometimes it’s the people who have been affected that make the biggest difference. I remember a family during a storm who were offered aid. They pointed to the next family and said ‘they need it more.”

She realizes that what she does isn’t for everyone. If someone were on the fence about volunteering in a crisis, she would ask them why they wanted to do it.

“You have to have a passion for it. It’s not just about being on TV.”

There are a few things that Pam hasn’t done yet on deployment that she’d like to; “I’ve never been deployed to a wildfire. As much as you don’t want it to happen to anyone, I’d like to have that experience. I’d also like the opportunity to ride along in an ERV (emergency response vehicle).”

Pam’s a retired school teacher by trade, and even with 30 deployments under her belt, she’s not ready to kick back and enjoy retirement just yet.

“I’ll keep going as long as I believe I’m contributing. I had two great mentors when I got started, and I’d love to mentor the folks who are coming up.”

If you would like to become a trained volunteer with the skills needed to help people affected by disasters big and small, visit our volunteer site to begin the application process.  Expedited training is currently taking place throughout the Northeast Ohio Region.

Help NEEDED…More Volunteers

Red Cross volunteer Kim Sterling of Ashtabula met Red Cross President and CEO Gail McGovern after being deployed to Austin, Texas

There are currently 30 volunteers from Northeast Ohio in or en route to Texas to provide relief to those affected by Hurricane Harvey. Some of them have been featured in the local media:

http://www.wkyc.com/news/local/five-ways-you-can-help-make-a-difference-for-harvey-victims-in-need/469042466

http://www.medina-gazette.com/Medina-County/2017/08/31/Medina-County-natives-involved-in-Harvey-efforts.html

http://www.news5cleveland.com/news/local-news/oh-summit/two-local-red-cross-volunteers-head-south-to-help-thousands-forced-from-their-flooded-homes

Volunteers continue to leave for the hurricane zone to provide sheltering, meals, and other services to residents who were forced from their homes.  And more volunteers will be needed in the coming weeks, to continue providing assistance to the tens of thousands of residents affected by Hurricane Harvey.

Red Cross volunteers are trained to provide the services needed before, during and after disaster strikes.  New training sessions are being scheduled.  If you are interested in becoming a Red Cross volunteer, and helping people like the volunteers featured in the media stories above, visit our volunteer page to begin the application process.