How the Public Can Help the American Red Cross in the Wake of Hurricane Harvey
Hurricane Harvey is still wrecking havoc across Texas, and now Louisiana, and Evelyn Miller, Executive Director of the American Red Cross Western Kentucky Chapter, has sent out a few reminders and tips on how to help the Red Cross help victims in the affected areas.
With millions of people displaced and forced from their homes across Texas and Louisiana the Red Cross is working diligently to help those affected. Currently power and communications outages are widespread as flooding increases and Miller expressed that the best way to help right now is financial donations to the Red Cross. Access into many areas are still quite difficult and the Red Cross is partnering with the United States Coast Guard and the Texas National Guard to move supplies and volunteers where they are needed most. The Red Cross’ first priority is to keep people safe while providing shelter, food, and a shoulder to lean on. Over 1,000 volunteers are on the ground and more are on the way, including a group of highly skilled volunteers from the Mexican Red Cross who will come to help shelters with Spanish speaking disaster survivors. The American Red Cross, along with their partners, have already served over 30,000 meals and snacks since the storm hit land on Friday. More than 80 tractor-trailer loads of cots, blankets, ready-to-eat meals, comfort kits, kitchen supplies and cleaning supplies are now on the ground in Texas. Two hundred American Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicles have been deployed to the state. But, Miller said, their work doesn’t stop after the storm passes, the organization will hand out cleaning supplies to those in need and will help coordinate clean-up efforts as well as help families and communities get back on their feet.
Miller stated that the situation is challenging and dangerous and access to relief operation areas is extremely difficult so people who travel there independently may not be able to get into the region in the midst of ongoing search and rescue efforts. She suggested that if you wish to volunteer that you connect with volunteer groups already on the ground to see where volunteers are most needed and what opportunities are available. If you would like to volunteer for the Red Cross, you can get more information on their website, redcross.org, however Miller said that due to overwhelming interest their systems are taxed and they are working on upgrading them, so she is asking potential volunteers to be patient in the coming days.
Miller said the best way the public can help is not to blindly send donated items to the affected areas or to load up in a vehicle and head down to independently volunteer, but rather to donate money to Red Cross and other volunteer efforts already on the ground. You can donate to the Red Cross by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS, visiting redcross.org, or by texting HARVEY to 90999. The Red Cross honors donor intent so you can designate your donation to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts by choosing that option when donating online or over the phone. All monetary donations will go to help with immediate disaster relief as well as continuing clean-up efforts.
For more information about the American Red Cross Western Kentucky Chapter you can call Evelyn Miller at 270-683-2438.