Red Cross among best ways to help hurricane refugees

Monday, August 28, 2017

We remember the lines of volunteers to give blood following the 9/11 terror attacks in New York, and the sad realization that their donations weren’t really needed by the few survivors of the Twin Towers collapse.

Thankfully, loss of life has been limited in the Hurricane Harvey assault on southeast Texas, but the widespread desire to help is still appropriate.

In both instances, the Red Cross is one of the most appropriate ways to make sure the most effective help gets to those who need it the most.

We’ve noticed a number of residents on social media who have connections in the affected area, and there are many area residents who are getting directly involved in the relief effort.

More than 40 volunteers from the Red Cross Kansas, Nebraska and Southwest Iowa Region are already on their way to Texas and parts of Louisiana.

More than 1,800 people took refuge in 34 shelters over the weekend, according to Red Cross officials, and that number is expected to grow dramatically as dozens of additional shelters open in the next few days as the storm continues to dump rain measured in feet on already-saturated areas.

The agency has shelter supplies in Texas to support 28,000 people and enough supplies for an additional 22,000 people are on their way, including five vehicles from our region, along with support for feeding, child care, disaster assessment and other disaster services.

While you may not be able to volunteer for the Red Cross, you can donate to Hurricane Harvey relief or any other service by visiting redcross.org, calling (800) RED CROSS or texting HARVEY to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

Disaster relief is only one service the American Red Cross performs, of course. It also teaches lifesaving skills, provides international humanitarian aid and supports military members and their family.

Most of us already familiar with blood drives, however, and there’s an emergency need for blood at this time. A blood donation is set for the Red Willow County community building at 12:30 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Donations decline around summer holidays like Labor Day. To thank those who come out to give Sept. 1-6, the Red Cross is providing a branded T-shirt, while supplies last.

Appointments can be scheduled by downloading the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). To help reduce wait times, donors are encouraged to make appointments and complete the RapidPass online health history questionnaire at redcrossblood.org/RapidPass.

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