Local Red Cross sends help after tornado blasts through Mississippi

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

Red Cross volunteers from South Louisiana are in Hattiesburg, Miss., where a tornado and storms damaged hundreds of homes and left families homeless.
The American Red Cross is responding to damage in counties around the Hattiesburg area resulting from Sunday evening's severe weather. The South Louisiana volunteers will assess damage, act as caseworkers and provide meals and snacks to those who lost their homes.

Seven volunteers traveled to Mississippi in three Red Cross Emergency Responses Vehicle filled with supplies. The teams' immediate mission is to help feed residents and pass out emergency supplies in the heart of the disaster area. They are expected to return in about two weeks.

Volunteer Marguerite Adams, from the Capital Area, will be serving in a leadership capacity providing health services to those in need. As many South Louisiana volunteers, she served here during Hurricane Isaac and traveled to New York to assist with Superstorm Sandy. She said much of her Red Cross experience, though, has been serving our Southern neighbors after tornadoes.

"The American Red Cross is making sure people have a safe place to stay and food to eat. We will be there as long as needed as families struggle to recover," said Kay W. Wilkins, CEO of the American Red Cross South Louisiana Region. "Red Cross disaster teams are working around the clock to help people whose lives have been turned upside down, and more Red Cross assistance is on the way."

In Mississippi, the Red Cross has opened shelters, mobilized volunteers and dispatched relief supplies despite damage to a chapter office and an emergency vehicle. Almost 40 people spent Sunday night in Red Cross shelters.

Shelters remain open and Red Cross disaster workers were expected to begin assessing damage if conditions allowed them to do safely. 

Today, the Red Cross responds to nearly 70,000 disasters a year, providing shelter, food, emotional support and other necessities to those affected. Through a worldwide network, the American Red Cross also provides 24-hour support to members of the military, veterans and their families – in war zones, military hospitals and on military installations around the world.

Those who want to help the people affected by these disasters, as well as countless crises at home andaround the world, can make a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Their gift will enable the Red Cross to prepare for and provide shelter, food, emotional support and other disaster assistance. To make a donation, people can visit www.redcross.org, or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation, or call 1-800-RED-CROSS. Contributions may also be sent to your local Red Cross chapter.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation's blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.