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Red Cross lends a helping hand to stranded travelers
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Katie Lawson
December 22, 2006

A severe snowstorm blew through Colorado earlier this week, dumping more than a foot of snow in some places and stranding thousands of holiday travelers. After pummeling the Denver metropolitan area with a reported total of 25 inches of snow, the storm moved east affecting Texas, Kansas, Nebraska and Wyoming.

The storm shut down Denver International Airport creating delays in airports across the country. Stranded passengers in the nation’s fifth busiest airport were forced to bed down in the terminal or struggle to find a hotel room. The storm also shut down several major routes through the west, including a 250-mile stretch of I-70 westbound in Kansas to the Colorado border.

Disaster volunteers from the American Red Cross Mile High Chapter have been weathering the storm while providing assistance to those in need. The chapter opened a total of seven shelters since Wednesday afternoon and welcomed more than 330 shelter guests.

“We also worked around the clock to support the material needs of the thousands of people stranded at Denver International Airport after it was forced to suspend operations due to the blizzard,” said Robert Thomas, Director of Communications for the Mile High Chapter. “We distributed more than 1,100 meals and about 8,000 snacks to may frustrated travelers.”

Chapter volunteers even supplied the Greyhound bus station with extra cots to help make stranded families a bit more comfortable as they waited out the storm. Many volunteers simply offered emotional support during a trying time.

The Pikes Peak chapter in Colorado Springs, Colo., along with the Centennial chapter in Ft. Collins also had multiple shelters open throughout the storm. While Pikes Peak welcomed 214 guests, Centennial welcomed approximately 30.

As the storm blew eastward, Red Cross chapters in Kansas and Nebraska also opened a few shelters after local motels were fully booked by stranded travelers. The Mid-Rio Grande chapter in New Mexico also set up a shelter for those affected by the closure of I-25.

Although conditions are beginning to improve, Red Cross chapters throughout the region will continue to monitor conditions and remain ready to offer further assistance.

To learn more about how to prepare for and cope with winter storms, visit the "Get Prepared" section of Redcross.org or contact your local Red Cross chapter.

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 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 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, DC 20013. Internet users can make a secure online contribution by visiting www.redcross.org.

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