PRINCETON — The American Red Cross has a massive relief response underway along the Gulf Coast where Isaac’s strong winds and relentless rain are continuing to leave flooded homes and thousands of evacuees in its wake.
Overnight Wednesday, more than 4,700 people stayed in as many as 80 Red Cross or community shelters in seven states. In addition to staffing shelters, the more than 3,000 Red Cross disaster workers had already served more than 22,000 meals and snacks yesterday.
“We need the public’s help,” reported Charley Shimanski, senior vice president for Red Cross Disaster Services. “We expect to be in the Gulf Coast region for weeks helping people recover from Isaac, even as we are still helping people out west affected by wildfires. It’s been a busy summer and our costs are growing by the hour. People can help by donating today.”
People can click or text to donate by visiting www.redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or texting REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
While focusing on providing emergency sheltering and feeding, the Red Cross is also starting to move more volunteers, equipment and relief supplies into communities as the storm exits.
“Before the storm struck, we put workers, equipment, vehicles and trailers full of supplies just outside the impact area,” Shimanski said. “As the storm moves out of some communities, we’re starting to move assistance in and we’ll be providing people with food, water and relief supplies in the days ahead.”
The Red Cross sent 311,000 ready-to-eat meals to the area, and the Southern Baptist Convention has mobile kitchens capable of producing thousands of meals a day prepositioned to serve cooked meals when it is safe to do so. Other community partners assisting along the Gulf include AmeriCorps, Islamic Relief USA, NAACP and the National Baptist Convention USA, helping with things like sheltering, feeding, driving disaster vehicles and logistics.
The Red Cross North Jersey Region has 22 disaster workers helping in states along the Gulf Coast, including volunteers driving two emergency response vehicles (ERVs) to join the fleet of more than 180 ERVs activated for this response. With the addition of 13 disaster workers from the Red Cross South Jersey Region, the state of New Jersey has 35 disaster workers helping in the area.