Red Cross biomedical worker reflects on first disaster deployment

By Tracie Endress, American Red Cross Biomedical Services Recruitment Account Specialist

Editor’s note:  Tracie Endress was deployed in September 2018 as a Red Cross disaster volunteer for the first time in support of those affected by Hurricane Florence.

Photo credit: Tracie Endress, American Red Cross

I donate blood and plasma to the American Red Cross, and knew I wanted to do more so I enrolled as a disaster volunteer. I decided to volunteer because I wanted to make a difference and help people who needed support during this disaster. This was my first disaster deployment. I served in Fayetteville, North Carolina, for two weeks. I was very proud to be a part of this Red Cross disaster response. I met a lot of amazing people who were affected by the disaster and who wanted to give back by volunteering for the Red Cross themselves. It was heartwarming to see how someone who was affected wanted to join the American Red Cross mission to help those in need.

florence 5I worked in the warehouse that packed and distributed the emergency supplies to areas that were affected by the storm. Driving into the disaster areas with 16-foot box trucks to help was very humbling and rewarding. When the people saw us, you could see hope in their eyes, knowing that others cared. People started helping us unpack the trucks and move the items. They would hug me and say, “Thank you for coming.”  The days were long, but we knew we couldn’t stop until all the supplies were dispersed.

While in North Carolina, I met a lot of people who were taking the same journey with me as disaster volunteers. I keep in touch with the volunteers that were there with me. We are family now.  It was a great experience, and I am honored to be a part of the American Red Cross Disaster Volunteer team.

Thousands of American Red Cross workers have mounted a massive response to help tens of thousands of people impacted by Hurricane Florence. See the Hurricane Florence one-month update here.

To apply to become a Red Cross volunteer, complete a volunteer application here.

Red Cross continues to respond to Hurricane Michael disaster relief

By: Eric Alves, Regional Communication Specialist, American Red Cross of Northeast Ohio

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The American Red Cross has continued to respond to the Hurricane Michael disaster relief effort, with Northeast Ohio playing a significant role in the support.

On October 11, Hurricane Michael came ashore and made its way across Alabama, Florida and Georgia, leaving a wake of destruction in its path. Hurricane Michael was a Category 4 upon landfall, making it the third-strongest hurricane in U.S. history. It was also the strongest hurricane to hit the U.S. in 50 years. A week since the storm, tens of thousands of people are still dealing with the destruction.

As always, when there is a need for compassion and humanitarian support, the Red Cross has been helping those affected and will remain there as people begin to recover and rebuild. Some people are still living without power, running water and other basic necessities. Many schools and medical facilities are closed, roads are still blocked and several bridges have been damaged.

The Red Cross is working around the clock to get help where it’s most needed. The situation throughout the region remains challenging and staff and volunteers are doing all they can to provide shelter, food, water and relief supplies to people in need.

As of October 18, more than 1,840 people stayed in as many as 16 Red Cross and community evacuation centers across Florida and Georgia. In the week since the storm, the Red Cross and other organizations have provided more than 27,400 overnight stays in emergency shelters in total, with the Red Cross providing about 83 percent of the stays.

Across the three states, more than 1,600 Red Cross disaster workers, including 21 from Northeast Ohio, are on the ground to support relief efforts, such as serving more than 477,800 meals and snacks and distributing more than 36,600 relief items like cleanup kits, rakes, shovels, bleach, garbage bags and much more to help with the massive cleanup effort. In addition, volunteer mental health and health services professionals have provided 6,700 contacts to provide support and care to evacuees.

After two major hurricanes in less than a month, thousands of people are looking for help. If you are interested in assisting those in need, visit redcross.org/volunteer or contact our Volunteer Services Department directly at 216-431-3328 or NEOvolunteer@redcross.org.

If you are unable to provide support during a disaster relief effort, there are other ways you can assist right here in Northeast Ohio. The Red Cross depends on financial donations to fund our relief services. To donate, visit redcross.org/donate, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

The Red Cross also has a critical need for blood and platelet donations to help meet patient needs. The Red Cross provides roughly 40 percent of the nation’s blood supply and Hurricanes Michael and Florence have forced the cancellation of about 250 blood drives, causing approximately 7,600 units of blood to go uncollected. The Red Cross is asking for eligible individuals to make an appointment to donate blood by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS.

NEO Volunteers join hundreds of others from across the country to help Hurricane Michael victims

Helping provide shelter, food and hope to those impacted by the storm

Five days after Hurricane Michael slammed into the southeast, thousands of people are living in dire conditions. The American Red Cross is with them, helping people in Florida, Georgia and Alabama as they struggle to get back on their feet.

  • Home after home is destroyed, many people have lost everything. Many areas are still inaccessible.
  • The storm also damaged medical facilities, schools and businesses. Search and rescue efforts continue.
  • Hundreds of thousands have no power as temperatures hover in the high 80s.
  • In many areas, people have no water or sewer service and many that do have service are under boil advisories.

 

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The Red Cross is doing all we can to get help to where it’s most needed, and we’re reaching more neighborhoods each day. We’re working around the clock with partners like the National Guard to move volunteers and supplies, and to support dozens of shelters where people can find comfort and refuge.

  • With the magnitude of destruction and many roads impassable, we know that getting help into some areas will be challenging for some time.
  • The Red Cross is providing shelter, food, health services and emotional support during this challenging situation.
  • Some shelters are being relocated to more comfortable and appropriate locations.
  • In some areas, emergency response vehicles are able to get through with meals and relief supplies.

More than 1,300 Red Cross disaster workers have been assigned to the Hurricane Michael disaster relief operation, including 19 volunteers from Northeast Ohio. Visit our YouTube channel to see and hear comments from the volunteers pictured below.

Akron group

Volunteers Harry Pierdomenico, Tom Quinn, Teresa Greenlief and Cameron Fraser  Photo credit: Eric Alves/American Red Cross

  • This is a huge disaster, and the Red Cross is working closely with government and nonprofit partners to provide aid.
  • It will take time and require the resources from a large variety of organizations to help families and communities recover.
  • We are actively recruiting additional volunteers to help respond to disasters like Hurricane Michael, and to the home fires that occur, on average, three times every 24 hours in Northeast Ohio.  You can visit our volunteer page to begin the application process.

After two major hurricanes in less than a month, thousands of people are looking for help. The Red Cross depends on financial donations to fund our relief services. Help people affected by Hurricane Michael by visiting redcross.org, calling 1- 800-RED CROSS or texting the word MICHAEL to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

  • Donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from this disaster.

The Red Cross has a critical need for blood and platelet donations to help meet patient needs. This fall, Hurricane Michael and Hurricane Florence have forced the cancellation of about 200 blood drives, causing approximately 7,000 units of blood to go uncollected in the Southeast.

  • Low donor turnout is expected to continue in affected areas as communities recover.
  • The Red Cross asks eligible individuals to make an appointment today by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS.