The American Red Cross is at its best when times are at their worst. As an immediate response agency, the Red Cross assembles a group of dedicated volunteers to support emergency relief efforts in the event of disaster.
The tornado that touched down in the Poplar Grove area called upon our greater sense of duty to help our neighbors in need. The Rock River Chapter, in conjunction with Boone County emergency officials, was on the scene to provide much-needed help.
Below you will find frequently asked questions regarding what the American Red Cross provides in times of disaster.
What does the American Red Cross actually do in disasters?
The most common disaster relief activities are providing shelter, food and first aid to those seeking refuge from a hurricane or flood or in the wake of a tornado, earthquake or hazardous materials incident.
Does the American Red Cross give assistance to individuals and families affected by disasters?
Yes, the core of Red Cross disaster relief activities is assistance given to individuals and families affected by disasters. This is where the majority of your financial contributions go.
How does the Red Cross help disaster victims get on the road to recovery?
The Red Cross provides disaster victims with the means to pay for what they need most, from groceries, new clothing and rent to emergency home repairs, transportation, household items, medicines and tools. Based on need, victims receive an outright grant to purchase items from the merchants of their choice, who have usually also been adversely affected by the disaster. The Red Cross also helps those needing long-term recovery assistance when other resources are not available or are inadequate.
How can you help after a disaster?
When a disaster strikes a family, a community or a country, people want to help.
Obviously, everyone does not have the time or ability to respond directly to the scene and give assistance. But almost everyone can do something to help those in need.
One way to help is to volunteer today with your local chapter. As a trained disaster volunteer, you may be called on to help others when they need you most.
Is there another way to help besides volunteering?
Another very important way to help is to send a financial contribution earmarked for the “Disaster Relief Fund” to your local Red Cross chapter.
Are donations of used clothing and canned foods wanted?
While these offers are made with the best intentions, the Red Cross must decline them. Such donations can actually impede the Red Cross relief efforts with the extra time and cost involved in collecting, sorting, cleaning, transporting, storing and distributing them. Your financial contribution ensures that what is actually needed can be purchased in disaster-affected communities.
Are all bulk donations needed?
Some bulk donations can be very helpful to the Red Cross efforts if they are needed relief items that cannot be easily obtained in the area or if they can be used for large numbers of people and distributed in an equitable manner to all disaster victims. For a list of these items, please contact your local Red Cross chapter.
Why does the American Red Cross need to specify items as acceptable?
Certain items may not be of any use during a particular disaster and, therefore, may impede relief efforts. For an item to be acceptable, it must be able to be used equitably for all victims of the disaster or to support the overall Red Cross disaster relief effort and to save budgeted dollars or enhance Red Cross services.
By Cedric A. Johnson – from a Special to the Register Star