American Red Cross Volunteers From Across The Country Bring Hope To Hurricane Katrina Survivors

American Red Cross
Saturday, 3 September 2005

The American Red Cross continues its massive effort to provide comfort and care to the hundreds of thousands of survivors of Hurricane Katrina. Red Cross volunteers are lending a helping hand, offering a shoulder to lean on and providing safe refuge and warm meals with compassion. Drawing upon the lessons learned over more than a century of disaster response, as well as its unique nationwide network of trained volunteers, the Red Cross is determined to meet the challenges ahead.

More than 4,200 volunteers and staff have left their families and homes behind for what will be many weeks, to help their neighbors who are hundreds of miles away. They will be joining the thousands of Red Cross relief workers who are already on the ground providing assistance to storm victims. From mental health counselors, specially trained to help disaster victims with this overwhelming emotional situation, to relief supply coordinators, to telecommunications experts—volunteers bring unique skills and experiences with them from every corner of the United States. Each day nearly 600 additional Red Cross volunteers are being mobilized to bring hope to hurricane survivors.

Other Red Cross and Red Crescent societies are joining the American Red Cross in this unprecedented relief effort. More than 80 technical experts from over ten countries are already either in the U.S. or are en route, with many more National Societies offering to send trained volunteers. Our neighbors, Mexico and Canada, have played a particularly large role as have many European Red Cross societies.

Since before the first raindrop fell, Red Cross volunteers and staff have been hard at work. As the weather system that would swell into Hurricane Katrina was first being reported, Red Cross planners recognized that this storm could require one of the largest relief efforts in the organization's 125-year history.

As the storm bore down on the Gulf Coast, the Red Cross opened hundreds of shelters to provide safety, food and comfort to evacuees. That activity continues, as new shelters accept evacuees just now able to escape the devastated areas. Today, more than 360 shelters are open across eight states and an additional 100 are on standby.

The monumental challenge of providing immediate relief as well as long-term assistance in the wake of Hurricane Katrina will test the spirit, determination and cooperation of the American public, government agencies and disaster relief organizations. The Red Cross is committed to being there every step of the way.

As the full dimension of this disaster unfolds, Americans from coast to coast – and caring people around the world – are moved to reach out to the hundreds of thousands who have been left without the basic necessities of life: food, safe drinking water and shelter. Through the Red Cross, millions are turning their compassion into action. No donation is too small, whether it's time or money, because when Americans come together, no goal is too great.

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 this and thousands of other 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 those in need. Call 1-800-HELP NOW 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.

For more information, or to contact American Red Cross, see their website at: www.redcross.org

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