Local Artisan Donates the Comfort of Clean to Stark and Muskingum Lakes Comfort Kits

Sometimes all you want is to strip off the day by taking a shower.

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Tim Reichel, Disaster Program Manager, shows off a crate full of REDBUDSUDS shower bars with artisan Aubrey Helmuth Miller and Kim Kroh, Stark and Muskingum Lakes Executive Director. The bars will be included in comfort kits for local disaster clients.

That is especially true for those who experience a disaster such as a home fire.

When Red Cross volunteers respond to the scene, the affected individuals immediate needs are assessed. Will they have access to shelter, food and clothing? Are there any other needs, like eyeglasses or medication, that were lost during the event?

Very often, before volunteers leave, the families will be handed a small bag with “Compliments of the American Red Cross” printed on it. The contents of which can help them begin to feel a little better. These items – shaving cream, razor, toothbrush, shampoo, soap – will help wash away the day so that they can start to focus on their recovery.

Aubrey Helmuth Miller, a Canton-area artisan, wanted to find a way to use her craft to contribute to her community. She took the trimmings of her natural REDBUDSUDS soaps, that would have been discarded as part of the process, and tucked them in to a small muslin bag and brought them to Disaster Program Manager, Tim Reichel at the Stark and Muskingum Lakes Chapter.

While her original intention was to provide clean comfort to those affected by the storms in the southeast, she saw that her soap could make a bigger impact here, in her own community.

Now each family and individual that receives a Red Cross comfort kit, will also receive a satchel of clean comfort courtesy of REDBUDSUDS and Aubrey.

Thank you, Aubrey!

North Randall Residents Receive Help and Hope Following Fire

More than 80 residents of an apartment complex in North Randall received help from Red Cross workers on Tuesday, February 14.

After firefighters responded to an apartment fire at the North Randall Estates, building inspectors had to determine whether it was safe to let residents back in their homes.

Red Cross workers opened a reception center in a Community Room, where waiting residents were given food and comfort.

“They calmed everyone down and walked us through what we need to do,” said resident Ricky Tunstall.  “They were sympathetic to our needs.”

Red Cross volunteers arrived on the scene shortly after the fire was reported mid-morning, and stayed well into the night, determining the needs of the residents, and trying to fill those needs.

Many residents were given immediate financial assistance.  The Red Cross distributed almost $7,000 to help people pay for a hotel room, or to buy food or other necessities.

One resident spent the night in a Red Cross shelter.

4 weeks after the fire, ongoing casework, disaster health services and disaster mental health services were being provided in 23 cases, with the cost of the operation more than $8,300.

On average, the Red Cross responds to three home fires every 24 hours in Northeast Ohio. While all Red Cross disaster assistance is free,  we rely on the generosity of donors to help us provide that assistance for disasters big and small.  Donations to help fund Red Cross disaster relief efforts can be made by calling 1-800-RED CROSS, or by logging onto redcross.org/neo. A text-to-give option is also available.  Text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

While You Were Celebrating…

By: Doug Bardwell, American Red Cross Volunteer

Hope you had a great New Year’s Eve and enjoyed your three or four-day weekend. It’s always great to have some time off – unless that’s when disaster strikes.

Over this past holiday weekend, disaster did strike – over a dozen times throughout the 22-county area served by the Northeast Ohio Region of the American Red Cross. Red Cross workers, mostly unpaid volunteers, responded to a vast variety of emergencies; providing physical, emotional and financial support to those affected.

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Keith Dulin receives help from Red Cross volunteers Bill Geschke and Felicia Lee after a fire damaged his apartment in Shaker Heights, Ohio. “I am trying to give back to people who are less fortunate,” Geschke said. “I volunteer for other organizations, but the work I do for the Red Cross gives me the most satisfaction.” Photo by Jim McIntyre/American Red Cross

After a plane went missing in Lake Erie off Burke Lakefront Airport, a Family Assistance Center team and Disaster Mental Health were deployed to the scene to help. The Family Assistance Center was set up January 1st and continues to aid families of the passengers. Meals, beverages and snacks have been served to 12 to 30 people daily.

During the weekend leading up to and including New Year’s Day, six home fires and one carbon monoxide poisoning incident found Disaster Assistance Teams being dispatched to Richland, Mahoning, Cuyahoga, Huron, Lorain and Summit counties. Providing lodging, clothing and financial support, the teams helped more than two dozen adults and children with their immediate needs.

A power outage on New Year’s Day in Harrison county wasn’t how 120 people envisioned starting the new year. Luckily, the Red Cross was there at the Scio Fire Department’s Community Room, providing meals and snacks for those without power.

The day after New Year’s Day, four more fires broke out in Cuyahoga, Mahoning and Lorain counties; many of them affecting multiple families. Once again, Disaster Assistance Teams were there to provide aid and lodging reimbursement for the more than two dozen people affected.

While the fires, poisoning and air fatality were totally unexpected; those are the very reasons the Red Cross is always prepared to be of assistance, and why volunteers play such a crucial role helping residents in Northeastern Ohio communities.

If you have an interest in volunteering, log onto redcross.org/neo

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August 18, 2016. Denham Springs, Louisiana. Tears fill Fonda’s eyes as she ran, arms opens, from her flooded Louisiana home. Her first request? “I want a hug,” says Fonda Buckley as she embraces Red Cross volunteer Cora Lee. Photo by: Marko Kokic/American Red Cross

and click on the volunteer tab, or call 216-431-3328.

Shaker Heights Resident Turns to Red Cross for Help Following Home Fire

Volunteers Respond to Provide Assistance for Immediate Needs

After Keith Dulin’s kitchen caught fire in November, the intense stench made it difficult for him to stay in his apartment in Shaker Heights.

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Dulin tried to return that night, but slept in his car because he was overwhelmed by the reek of grease fire, which burned his stove and surrounding cabinets and wall. Familiar with the type of services provided by the Red Cross, he reached out for assistance.

“It was unbearable, trying to stay in the apartment,” Dulin said. “I needed another place to stay, and I knew the Red Cross could help.”

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Keith Dulin receives help from Red Cross volunteers Bill Geschke and Felicia Lee after a fire damaged his apartment in Shaker Heights, Ohio. “I am trying to give back to people who are less fortunate,” Geschke said. “I volunteer for other organizations, but the work I do for the Red Cross gives me the most satisfaction.”

After meeting with two Red Cross volunteers at his home, Dulin received a comfort kit with necessities like toiletries, as well as assistance to help cover food and alternative lodging to help get him back on his feet.

Volunteers like Felicia Lee and Bill Geschke respond to an average of three home fires a night in Northeast Ohio.  If you have an interest in volunteering, visit our website or call 216-431-3328.

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Red Cross volunteers Bill Geschke and Felicia Lee

Photo credit: Jim McIntyre/American Red Cross

After Escaping Home Fire, Ravenna Family Turns to Red Cross for Relief

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It was an ordinary August morning for Edna Norton until she returned home to find her house ablaze.

Surrounded by nearly a dozen fire trucks, Norton rushed to meet her family outside of their home in Ravenna, Ohio. Much to her relief, her husband and sons made it to safety after the eldest rescued his 18-year-old brother, who uses a wheelchair. But the threat to her family’s lives and destruction to their home left her distraught.

A Red Cross volunteer responding to the fire came to Norton’s side, offering comfort and support.

“She had a spirit about her. She was so calming and soothing,” Norton said of the volunteer. “She made you feel like you could make it through. She was very knowledgeable. I was a wreck. She made me sit down. Gave me water. She was still there after [the first responders] were leaving.”

The Red Cross helped Norton and her family figure out their next steps, addressing urgent needs such as replacing prescription medications that were destroyed by the fire. She said she’s grateful for the support to develop a path for their recovery.

edna-norton-with-red-cross-worker-debbie-chitester-2“To lose everything and to know [there are] people out there that care…There are a lot of good people out in the world,” she added. “I’m telling you that I had so much generosity, so much love, from strangers saying, ‘What can I do to help?’”

If you would like to volunteer as a member of the Red Cross team, visit www.redcross.org/neo and click on Volunteer.

Photos: Mary Williams/American Red Cross

Red Cross Helps Cleveland Family Displaced by Fire

Children Receive Stuffed Toys to Help Them Through Crisis

Cara Hunt was at home with her three young children when their upstairs caught fire in September.

The Cleveland family escaped unharmed, but the fire stripped them of their basic necessities and left them with no place to sleep.

 

As firefighters worked to extinguish the blaze, two American Red Cross workers responded to offer relief. They gave each child a stuffed animal toy to help calm their fears, and provided financial assistance to cover temporary lodging for the family, whose home was deemed unlivable.

Cleveland Fire Battalion Captain Chris Posante, who connected Hunt with the Red Cross workers, underscored the importance of this support.

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Red Cross worker Mark Cline offers assistance to resident Cara Hunt

“These are good people who are suffering through no fault of their own,” Posante said. “The help you give them is much needed.”

You can help people who have been driven from their homes by fire when you donate to Red Cross Disaster Relief, at redcross.org/donate, or by calling 1-800 RED CROSS.  You can also text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

 

 

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Red Cross worker Jeremy Bayer offers stuffed toys to children driven from their home by fire

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘It Was a Relief’: Red Cross Helps Residents Displaced by Fire

North Olmsted Residents Receive Red Cross Assistance

Christine Kisela needed a place to stay after her apartment building in North Olmsted recently caught fire.

A ceiling fan in one of the units sparked the blaze, which spread quickly to the building’s attic. Firefighters had to use so much water to put out the fire that all eight homes became uninhabitable.

 

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Displaced without food and belongings, Kisela had many questions and no sense of when she could return to her daily life in North Olmsted, Ohio.red-cross-volunteers-mark-cline-and-gary-grano-and-disaster-program-manager-jeremy-bayer-assist-clients-in-north-olmsted

To help Kisela and her neighbors navigate their next steps, four workers from the American Red Cross Greater Cleveland Chapter arrived to meet one-on-one with residents to discuss their needs and connect them with available resources.

 

“I thought it was great when the Red Cross showed up,” Kisela said. “Not knowing when we could get back into our apartments, it was a relief to get some answers and some assistance.”

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Resident Christine Kisela assisted by Red Cross volunteer Gary Grano

Her neighbor, Keith Kasprzyk, agreed.

“To see the Red Cross here was great,” Kasprzyk said. “The help they gave us will definitely be put to good use.”

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Red Cross volunteer Taylor Ley assists resident Keith Kazprzyk and dog Lola

 

 

 

The Red Cross responds to nearly 66,000 disasters every year, with the vast majority of them home fires. People can help residents in their darkest hours by donating to Red Cross Disaster Relief. Visit redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations to Disaster Relief will be used to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small.

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Resident Joan Kravetz receives assistance from Red Cross volunteer Mark Cline