By: Sherry Williams Kidd | Twitter: @PGJournal
Posted: September 28, 2019 | 12:30 p.m.
VIRGINIA – From responding to local home fires, to responding to national-level disasters, the Virginia and American Red Cross are always there to help. Virginia, just like other southern coastal states, was once again expected to face potential damage from Hurricane Dorian.
More than 60 Virginia Red Crosser volunteers helped to transport and pre-position snacks, water, and shelter supplies in multiple cities and counties in support of the nine localities that opened evacuation shelters, just in case the storm did heavy damage in the Commonwealth. Luckily, this time Virginia dodged the bullet, and for the most part, the Commonwealth was virtually unscathed. The work of the Virginia Red Cross; however, did not end there.
“We sent 29 Virginia Red Crossers to North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida to help respond to the storm,” said Christy Carneal, American Red Cross, Virginia Region, and Capital Community Volunteer Leader. “One of those volunteers is Susie Clarke, from Stony Creek, who deployed to Florida as a shelter nurse.”
In their national response, the American Red Cross and their partners across the southern coastal states have worked together to provide over 38,000 overnight shelter stays for Hurricane Dorian. They have served more than 116,000 meals and snacks. Volunteer mental health and health services professionals have provided some 11,900 contacts to provide support and care to people affected by Hurricane Dorian. They have opened an evacuation shelter in Florida for those coming to the United States from the ravaged islands in the Bahamas. Six Disaster Specialist have been deployed to the Bahamas to provide support to the Bahamian Red Cross, and also committed financial support to them as they begin to try to recover from the devastation caused by the storm.
“As part of the Hurricane Dorian response, Virginia Region Red Cross volunteers and staff worked to not only support impacted areas outside of Virginia, but also prepared for anticipated impacts here in Virginia,” remarked James Hatcher, III, Virginia Region’s Chief Executive Officer. “This dual-pronged response is typical for the Virginia Red Cross as we support neighboring regions, while also preparing for possible direct impacts, especially in our coastal chapters. We are proud to be part of a network of responders that includes volunteers, staff, community partners, and agencies; all of whom train and prepare to support local communities during times of disaster.”
To help in providing this assistance, local volunteers have also worked with local news affiliates and other organizations to help raise a portion of the funds that will help in this massive effort. Donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to, and help people recover from this disaster. In the U.S., in areas such as Ocracoke Island in North Carolina that was devastated, and the RV Park in Wilmington, North Carolina, that was virtually decimated, this includes providing food, shelter, relief supplies, emotional support, recovery planning, and other assistance.
“The kindness and generosity of those in our community is unlike anything I have ever seen,” added Christy Carneal. “We are surrounded by Red Crossers who work tirelessly to support what happens here, or miles from here. We live in a community where you always see an outpouring of people who ask what they can do. Everyone wants to do something to be a part of the recovery. It is something that is amazing to be a part of.”
For those in Central Virginia that would like to help, there are multiple ways. For instance, consider scheduling a blood donation. Hurricane Dorian has forced the cancellation of nearly 100 Red Cross blood drives and donation centers in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia, resulting in more than 2,300 uncollected blood and platelet donations. Just one person’s donation can help save up to three lives. For information on where to donate blood in your local area, go to redcrossblood.org, and simply enter your zip code, or telephone 1-800-Red Cross, choose the blood drive option, provide a zip code, and a volunteer will provide you with information on all drives in your area, and even schedule an appointment for you if desired.
For other ways to make a difference in the lives of people impacted by Hurricane Dorian in both the U.S. and the Bahamas. Visit redcross.org, or telephone 1-800-RED CROSS, 1-800-733-2767). Text the word DORIAN to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
For more information on the Red Cross response to Hurricane Dorian, go to Redcross.org. If you have lost contact with a US citizen traveling in the Bahamas, contact the U.S. State Department at 1-888-407- 4747. If you have questions about local programs, or would like information on volunteering for the Red Cross, contact Christy Carneal by telephone at (804) 731-5682, or by email at Christy.Carneal@redcross.org.
The American Red Cross, the Virginia Capital Chapter of the Red Cross, and Virginia residents, pulling together to help people in desperate need, both here and around the world. By anyone’s estimation, a pretty dynamic and unstoppable team.