In American Red Cross shelters across Texas and Louisiana, workers are focused on providing shelter and food to thousands of residents who remain in need of emergency help following Hurricane Ike, which made landfall in Galveston on September 13, 2019. Rows of Red Cross cots are lined up in school gyms, places of worship, sports venues and many other community buildings; meals are served by the thousands in Red Cross and community shelters and from Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicles (ERVs).
The Red Cross sets up a mobile kitchen at the Westgate Baptist Church with help from the Southern Baptists. Red Cross ERV drivers picked up hot meals from the kitchen and distributed them to local neighborhoods affected by Hurricane Ike. In this photo, Red Cross volunteer Elizabeth Rossi works with the Southern Baptists to make a large batch of chili. Behind her are Red Cross volunteer Pam Smith (in green hat) and Southern Baptist volunteer Louise Adams. Dennis Drenner/American Red Cross
These scenes, all too familiar in the 21st century, continue long after reporters have packed up their cameras to follow the newest story. As the news media leave town, Red Cross volunteers remain , providing relief for victims of disasters.
Over the weekend more than 4,500 Red Cross volunteers were working in Texas, Louisiana, Kentucky, and beyond, to provide a safe place in which to sleep, hot meals, hugs and hope. Ninety shelters were still operating, providing more than 17,000 overnight stays for people who cannot yet return to their homes.
Red Cross volunteers working in kitchens and from ERVs served more than half-a-million meals this past Saturday and Sunday, and another half-a-million snacks. Food was available at Red Cross shelters, of course, but much more food reached storm victims by way of mobile feeding units, vehicles that can drive into hard-hit areas where storm victims have started cleaning up their homes but have no electricity with which to cook.
In addition to food and shelter, this past weekend the Red Cross provided thousands of comfort kits with toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap and other toiletries. Thousands more clean up kits were also distributed, complete with mops, brooms, buckets, rubber gloves, disinfectants and other items to help people begin the task of cleaning up after the storms. Residents report that these simple items are a big help as they take the first steps in getting themselves on the road to recovering from the storm.
And so the Red Cross response to Gustav and Ike and the rest of the 2008 hurricanes continues and will continue for probably months. The Red Cross is there, giving comfort and staying busy behind the scenes, without fanfare or fuss.
As the Red Cross continues helping individuals and families battered by the 2008 storms and hurricanes, the organization launched a national fundraising campaign to raise an initial $100 million to fill a Disaster Relief Fund depleted by an active year of disasters. The Disaster Relief Fund allows the Red Cross to provide emergency assistance to help victims of disasters meet their immediate needs for food, shelter, counseling and other critical services.
To make a financial gift to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, log-on to www.redcross.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish). You can also use your cell phone to donate $5 to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund by text messaging they keyword "GIVE" to "2HELP" (24357). You can send multiple donations depending on your carrier. Contributions will appear on monthly bills or be debited from a pre-paid account balance. All applicable text rates apply.
All American Red Cross disaster assistance is free, made possible by voluntary donations of time and money from the American people. You can help the victims of thousands of disasters across the country each year, disasters like the Hurricanes of 2008, by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, which enables the Red Cross to provide shelter, food, counseling and other assistance to victims of disaster. The American Red Cross honors donor intent. If you wish to designate your donation to a specific disaster please do so at the time of your donation. Call 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767) or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish). Contributions to the Disaster Relief Fund may be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC20013. Internet users can make a secure online contribution by visiting www.redcross.org.