Red Cross had busy year

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 23, 2013

By Debbie Glover
Pontchartrain News

Although best known this year locally for their efforts during Hurricane Isaac, the American Red Cross had 113 large relief operations in 42 states assisting disaster-affected residents.
Here in South Louisiana, the Red Cross launched relief operations after Hurricane Isaac struck the area, as well as other storms, floods and tornadoes.
In Hurricane Isaac alone, 2,000 disaster workers – about half from Louisiana – helped residents by opening 42 shelters, providing 13,000 overnight stays. The volunteers served 475,000 meals and snacks, distributed more than 86,000 relief items and provided more than 11,000 health and mental health contacts. Red Cross long-term relief efforts continue today.
“This disaster affected many people’s lives here in south Louisiana,” said Kay W. Wilkins, American Red Cross South Louisiana CEO, in reference to Hurricane Isaac. “Red Cross workers from both here at home and across the country worked tirelessly to make sure people had a safe place to stay, food to eat, and help getting their lives back on track.”
In addition, Isaac impacted Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas as well as the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. A total of 157 shelters and thousands of volunteers helped with Hurricane Isaac.
In addition, 76 south Louisiana volunteers also served in the northeast, mostly in New York and New Jersey, after Hurricane Sandy struck in late October. Almost all have served at least two weeks, one for two months. Twenty-one volunteers are currently deployed, with about half volunteering for a second time.
Along with hurricane help, the Red Cross also assisted local victims affected by lesser storms, fires and other emergencies affecting families, businesses and individuals throughout the parish.
Nationally, the Red Cross opened 907 shelters and provided more than 109,000 overnight stays to help people forced from their homes by disasters. In total, more than 29,000 trained disaster workers served 9.9 million meals and snacks and distributed more than 6.8 million relief items. Health and mental health workers provided more than 141,000 consultations to help people on the road to recovery.
Three tragic events that captured headlines this year were also served by the American Red Cross. They included the shooting at Sandy Hook Elemen-tary School in Newtown, Conn., as well as the mass shootings at the movie theater in Aurora, Co., in July and at the Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wis., in August.
Both mental and emotional health support as well as food and drinks for first responders.
The 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; collects and distributes more than 40 percent of the nation’s blood supply and trains more than 9 million people in first aid, water safety and other life-saving skills every year.
In order to be eligible to volunteer with the Southeast Louisiana American Red Cross one must be over the age of 18, or 14 with parental consent, and able to pass the background check. Younger aged students can volunteer under the direct supervision of their parents.
Visit for more information on the organization and what you can do to help.