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.

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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.”

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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.

 

 

 

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.

 

From Hurricanes to Home Fires – Get Prepared in September

Hurricane Harvey 2017By now you know may think that you know all about hurricanes — massive storm systems that form over the water and move toward land. Threats from hurricanes include high winds, heavy rainfall, storm surge, coastal and inland flooding, rip currents, and tornadoes. These large storms are called typhoons in the North Pacific Ocean and cyclones in other parts of the world. The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30, with the peak occurring now, between mid-August and late October. The Eastern Pacific hurricane season begins May 15 and ends November 30.

It may seem like you’re well versed on basic preparedness tips, such as:

  • Know where to go if ordered to evacuate.
  • Put together a go-bag: disaster supply kit, including a flashlight, batteries, cash, first aid supplies, medications, and copies of your critical information if you need to evacuate
  • If not in an area that is advised to evacuate and you decide to stay in your home, plan for adequate supplies in case you lose power and water for several days and you are not able to leave due to flooding or blocked roads.
  • Make a family emergency communication plan.

And with Ohio not being a coastal state, you may feel that you don’t have to worry about any of these things!

But you should.

Hurricane Harvey 2017Coming right smack in the middle of the peak of Hurricane season, is Preparedness Month. Celebrated every September, it is the perfect time for you, your family, and your community learn how to BE PREPARED.

Prepare for the things you may experience as an Ohioan: tornadoes, flooding, extreme winter weather, power outages, or a home fire.

Step one:
Build a Kit or Do an Annual Supply Check

Make sure your emergency kit is stocked with the items on the checklist below. Most of the items are inexpensive and easy to find, and any one of them could save your life. Headed to the store? Download a printable version to take with you. Once you take a look at the basic items, consider what unique needs your family might have, such as supplies for pets, or seniors.

After an emergency, you may need to survive on your own for several days. Being prepared means having your own food, water and other supplies to last for at least 72 hours. A disaster supplies kit is a collection of basic items your household may need in the event of an emergency.

Basic Disaster Supplies Kit

To assemble your kit, store items in airtight plastic bags and put your entire disaster supplies kit in one or two easy-to-carry containers such as plastic bins or a duffel bag.

A basic emergency supply kit could include the following recommended items:

  • Waterone gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
  • Food – at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
  • Flashlight
  • First aid kit
  • Extra batteries
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Manual can opener for food
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery

Download the Recommended Supplies List (PDF)

Additional Emergency Supplies

Consider adding the following items to your emergency supply kit based on your individual needs:

  • Prescription medications
  • Non-prescription medications such as pain relievers, anti-diarrhea medication, antacids or laxatives
  • Glasses and contact lense solution
  • Infant formula, bottles, diapers, wipes, diaper rash cream
  • Pet food and extra water for your pet
  • Cash or traveler’s checks
  • Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records saved electronically or in a waterproof, portable container
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
  • Complete change of clothing appropriate for your climate and sturdy shoes
  • Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper to disinfect water
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
  • Mess kits, paper cups, plates, paper towels and plastic utensils
  • Paper and pencil
  • Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children

Maintaining Your Kit

After assembling your kit remember to maintain it so it’s ready when needed:

  • Keep canned food in a cool, dry place
  • Store boxed food in tightly closed plastic or metal containers
  • Replace expired items as needed
  • Re-think your needs every year and update your kit as your family’s needs change.

Kit Storage Locations

Since you do not know where you will be when an emergency occurs, prepare supplies for home, work and vehicles.

  • Home: Keep this kit in a designated place and have it ready in case you have to leave your home quickly. Make sure all family members know where the kit is kept.
  • Work: Be prepared to shelter at work for at least 24 hours. Your work kit should include food, water and other necessities like medicines, as well as comfortable walking shoes, stored in a “grab and go” case.
  • Vehicle: In case you are stranded, keep a kit of emergency supplies in your car.

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.

Volunteering Spans Generations for One Red Cross Family

Grandfather, Grandson in North Carolina Helping with Hurricane Response

Alejandro Reynoso is trying to teach his grandson a lesson. His classroom is a Red Cross emergency response vehicle.

Mr. Reynoso and his grandson, 18-year old Dominic drove the ERV from Arizona to North Carolina to help people affected by Hurricane Matthew.

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“I think we should all take some time to contribute to society,” Mr. Reynoso says.  “It’s more of a duty.”

Dominic just graduated from high school, and isn’t sure what he wants to do in the future.  But for the present, he and his grandfather are busy dishing out bratwurst and baked beans, canned pears and potato chips to North Carolina residents impacted by flooding and other storm damage.

They make a good team.

“That lady told me she hadn’t eaten in three days,” Dominic says of one flood-affected resident, who received food prepared by the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief organization.  He gave her two meals and a case of bottled water.  “She said she has no water either.”img_2663

Mr. Reynoso is a Vietnam veteran who left his engineering firm to volunteer in North Carolina.  “That’s the price you pay.  It’s unconditional.  The reward is being asked to come back.”

That is the lesson he hopes to impart on his grandson.

If you would like to volunteer for the Red Cross, log onto redcross.org.

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Photos and story: Jim McIntyre/American Red Cross

Volunteers from Across the U.S. Help in N.C.

Red Cross volunteers have come from all over the U. S. to help residents affected by flooding following Hurricane Matthew. About three dozen workers are from Northeast Ohio

Flooding in North Carolina is expected to persist through the weekend, as rivers continue to crest six days post-hurricane.

At the Western Prong Baptist Church in Whiteville, North Carolina on Thursday, October 13, volunteers from several states arrived in Emergency Response Vehicles to deliver meals prepared at the mobile kitchen set up by the Southern Baptist Convention.

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A dozen states were represented by Red Cross volunteers, who traveled to North Carolina, some of them driving for days, to help residents by distributing food, water, and clean-up kits.

Volunteers came o the kitchen in ERVs from Arizona, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas and Utah.  They have been trained by the Red Cross to help deliver mass care during disasters.

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New volunteers can be trained to drive ERVs, run shelters, and many more essential services provided by the Red Cross during times of crisis.  If you’re interested, log onto  redcross.org/neo and click the volunteer tab to begin the application process.

Volunteer Stories: Why They Give Back

North Carolina Residents Help Their Neighbors Following Hurricane Matthew

Leween and James McIntosh joined hands with members of a family who had taken refuge from Hurricane Matthew inside a shelter at a school in Bergaw, North Carolina, and said grace.  The Red Cross volunteers then joined the family for a Sunday dinner of Salisbury steak, mashed potatoes and beans, prepared by school cafeteria workers.

It will be some time before the family of India Davis will have a home cooked meal.  Their home was destroyed by a tree that fell during the storm.

“It’s a miracle no one was hurt,” said the grandmother of two rambunctious boys.

red-cross-volunteers-james-and-leween-mcintosh-assist-india-davis-at-a-shelter-in-bergaw-nc-after-her-house-was-destroyed-by-hurricane-matthewThe McIntoshes are Red Cross caseworkers who helped the Davis family obtain initial assistance, and who will help them develop a plan for recovering from the losses they suffered.  They have been Red Cross volunteers for just over a year.

Following Sunday supper, Red Cross volunteers Luis Diaz and his son Eric got busy assembling cots for the night ahead, while Luis’ wife Anabela completed required paperwork.  The Diaz family moved to Wilmington, North Carolina from New York several years ago, for the lower cost-of-living and better schools. Luis says he began volunteering with the Red Cross 10 years ago.  He started as a community relations liaison, and now helps people during disasters.

“I wanted to give back to the community.”

It wasn’t long before Anabela began to volunteer as well. She, too wanted to give back.

“I liked the activities, what he was doing, and what he was giving to the community.”

Their son Eric became a volunteer when he turned 18.

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Volunteers like the McIntosh and Diaz families are essential to the mission of the American Red Cross. More than 90% of the Red Cross workforce is comprised of volunteers, people who, like the McIntosh and Diaz family help their neighbors when disaster strikes.

Log onto redcross.org to learn more about becoming a volunteer.

In addition, we will host a four hour session on how you can volunteer to assist those affected by Hurricane Matthew, and other disasters, this Friday, October 14 from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the Greater Cleveland office at 3747 Euclid Ave.

Reserve a seat by emailing luis.rivera@redcross.org or call 216-426-7549.

Photo credit: Jim McIntyre/American Red Cross