Homeless Shelters Crowd With Cold & Bad Economy

January 15, 2009

The following article was reported on Rockford’s News Channel 23 – WIFR on 1/14/2009

Weather like this makes us thankful to be indoors and that’s how area homeless are feeling as they crowd local shelters to escape the frigid cold.

“I appreciate it very much,” says one man checking into the Red Cross downtown Rockford shelter.

Appreciation is all the Red Cross needs in exchange for a hot meal and a warm bed and as the temperature plummets below zero, it’s a full house, with 49 people planning to stay at the overnight shelter on Cedar Street in downtown Rockford.

Several people said they didn’t even want to think about where they would be without this shelter.

“Underneath a bridge or making a fire down but the river or something,” says one overnight resident.

Another adds, “I really believe that God takes care of his children so I am thankful to him and to this place.”

And these days the cold isn’t the only thing driving people to area shelters. Red Cross volunteers say more people are coming in saying they’ve lost their jobs and can’t afford rent anymore.

“I hear more and more people say that they’ve never stayed in a shelter before. So it’s not the usual people that you would see,” says Red Cross Volunteer Nancy Burkett.

Betty Irelan falls in that category. Even though she struggles with diabetes, she says she’s been working since she was ten, but recently hit job troubles and has been unemployed since June.

“So I went like seven months without any money and finally the landlord got upset and evicted me last Friday,” says Irelan.

And even as more people are in need of help, it’s harder for the Red Cross to meet that need, because donations are down. They especially need warm socks and toiletries.

But workers say even when they fill up, they’ll never leave someone out in the cold.

“Everyone deserves to have a warm safe place to stay,” says Burkett.

I also spoke with a man who said he actually has a full time job, but he said he would still be out on the street without the Red Cross.

If you need help from the Red Cross, or you would like to make a donation, call 815-963-8471, or visit http://www.rockriver.redcross.org.


American Red Cross Continues to Assist Displaced Dekalb Area Residents

September 17, 2008

Dekalb, September 17, 2008 – Due to excessive rain and flooding in the area, the American Red Cross continues to operate a shelter for displaced residents at St. John’s Evangelical Church at 26555 Brickville Road just west of Sycamore.

  • This shelter is being manned by 15-20 Red Cross volunteers
  • Last night, the Red Cross provided food and shelter to 75 people

All American Red Cross disaster assistance is free, made possible by donations of time and money from American people. To help the victims of this (and other) disaster, contributions can be made to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund by calling: (815) 963-8471 or contributions to may also be sent to Rock River Chapter, American Red Cross, 727 N. Church St., Rockford, IL 61103 or to the American Red Cross, P. O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013. Internet users can make a secure online credit card contribution by visiting http://rockriver.redcross.org.

Gulf Coast Storms – Video

September 17, 2008

Looking for more information on how the Red Cross is responding to the Hurricanes go to the online newsrooms:

If you like to volunteer at the Red Cross find your local chapter.

Baby Born in Red Cross Shelter – Photos

September 15, 2008

These photos are available for media distribution. Please click the photo for caption and courtesy information.

New Braunfels, TX 9.12.08

Red Cross volunteer Judy Sperling-Newton displays baby Katrina Paw, born to Ku Paw at a shelter in New Braunfels.

Photos courtesy American Red Cross/Bruce Newton

For more information on how Red Cross is responding to Hurricane Ike go to the online newsroom.

New Braunfels, TX 9.12.08 New Braunfels, TX 9.12.08 New Braunfels, TX 9.12.08 New Braunfels, TX 9.12.08 New Braunfels, TX 9.12.08

Hurricane Ike Volunteers Check-in in Dallas – Ft. Worth

September 11, 2008

Want to learn more about how Red Cross is responding to Hurricane Ike go to the Red Cross Hurricane Ike Online Newsroom.

What to expect when you go into a Red Cross shelter.

September 11, 2008

For more information on how the Red Cross is currently responding to the recent hurricanes you can go to:

New Roof is up on our Rock River Chapter Emergency Shelter

August 7, 2008

New Roof on the Shelter

The roof is up now on our Emergency Shelter. Construction has been going great, if you’d like to volunteer just visit our website. This renovation will allow us to better serve families and children. Click the link above or here to see more pictures.