South Carolina Red Cross volunteers help aid in relief efforts in Louisiana

Residents survey floodwaters Tuesday in Prairieville, La. AP

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C.- The American Red Cross is helping thousands of people in Louisiana affected by the devastating flooding there, likely the worst natural disaster since Superstorm Sandy in 2012. More than 1,000 Red Cross disaster volunteers from all over the country are on their way to help in Louisiana, including more than 60 from South Carolina, to assist with this massive relief operation.

Meliza Ford, a volunteer from the Charleston area and Mark Brown, a volunteer from the Bluffton area, are both deploying within the next 24 hours and will be joining 15 Red Crossers from the Lowcountry who are already on the ground in Louisiana. In addition, four volunteers from the Lowcountry are helping virtually with the national call center.

Ford, a disaster mental health volunteer, will be helping provide emotional support to people whose lives have been destroyed by the floodwaters. She is heading to Louisiana because she wants “to help the families who are suffering during this awful disaster begin to heal.” Ford, who also volunteered during Superstorm Sandy, is a licensed mental health counselor and a marriage and family therapist.

Preliminary reports indicate as many as 40,000 homes are damaged, forcing thousands of people from their homes. Those affected are being supported in numerous Red Cross and community shelters where they can find a safe place to stay and food to eat. At the peak of the floods, more than 50 shelters provided safety for more than 10,000 people and the Red Cross and partners have served nearly 100,000 meals and snacks since the onset of the flooding.

The Red Cross has also mobilized more than 60 disaster response vehicles, nearly 40,000 ready-to-eat meals, and more than two dozen trailer loads of shelter and kitchen supplies to bolster relief efforts. Some of the supplies arriving include water, personal hygiene items, insect repellant, cleaning kits, bleach and other important supplies.

HOW TO HELP “Initial reports indicate responding to this disaster could cost more than $30 million,” said Louise Welch Williams, regional chief executive officer for the American Red Cross in South Carolina. “The Red Cross depends on the generosity of the public to support our work. We urgently need people to join us in supporting Louisiana by making a financial donation today, as well as to consider volunteering to help us provide relief on the ground.”

People can donate by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS, texting the word LAFLOODS to 90999 to make a $10 donation, or by sending a donation to 2424 City Hall Lane, North Charleston, SC 29406.

BECOME A VOLUNTEER People can make a difference in someone’s life by becoming a Red Cross volunteer. To join us, visit redcross.org/southcarolina today to learn more about volunteer opportunities and how to submit a volunteer application.

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