The scene is now mass devastation in Florida's Gulf coastal region. Hurricane Katrina's death toll is rising, while hundreds are missing, and thousands are displaced. Two Southern Maryland Red Cross disaster trained volunteers, Mary Jane and Ken Cook packed their bags and report for duty Tuesday morning. They are leaving the comfort of their families, friends, their jobs, and the calm of Southern Maryland to travel thousands of miles into the heart of the devastation and provide support to the recovering victims for the next three weeks. The ERV (Emergency Response Vehicle)provides hot meals, drinks, snacks, and clean up kits, free to those anyone in need. They also feed all the workers involved in the clean up and recovery efforts.
Tuesday morning they will departed with the Southern Maryland chapters' ERV and will drive all day to get closer to the stageing area, Little Rock AK to continue to there assignment somewhere on the Gulf Coast where they will join hundreds of other volunteers working round-the-clock to provide emergency relief to families across the region that were left stunned in the wake of the tropical Storm. Right now the Red Cross anticipates, through the use of the ERVs in its mobile feeding capacity serving 100,000 meals a day for the foreseeable future. As families will be allowed to return to effect areas, they will have the opportunity to witness the intensity of the destruction of Katrina. Red Cross mental health staff is on hand to help people through this trying time, to assist them in talking to their children about difficult subjects and to encourage them to find the strength to care for themselves and their families. Also, Red Cross volunteer medical staff are providing basic first aid to people who have received minor injuries during the clean up process.
To assist in the clean up effort, massive amounts of comfort kits (personal hygiene items) and clean up kits (cleaning products) and been distributed to Florida residences. Damage assessment teams are traveling to each effected neighborhood, allowing Red Cross caseworkers to provide the much needed funds directly to families to assist them in rebuilding their lives.
The Southern Maryland Chapter will provide information on its web site about the travels of our ERV. Go to SouthenMaryland.RedCross.Org and follow the prompts to News and Events. You'll be able to follow a daily log of "Where in the World is ERV 1055"
The effects of Hurricane Katrina have been devastating to the population of the Gulf Coast. The disaster relief efforts will be large scale and long term. The Red Cross will be there to assist everyone who needs help recovering from this storm. Each of us in Southern Maryland, know the devastating effects of a natural disaster. After the tornado three years ago and the hurricane just two years ago, support in the form of financial donations came in from around the United States to help our area recover. Now we ask the same of you. Help the residents of the Gulf Coast put their lives back together by making a donation today to the American Red Cross National Disaster Relief fund by contacting your local chapter PO Box 507 La Plata, MD 20646, 1-888-276-2767, calling 1800-HELP-NOW or making a secure on line donation at www.redcross.org.
The need is urgent and immediate. Help over 1,400 Red Cross volunteers help those in need. Call Now to help.
All Red Cross disaster assistance is free, made possible by voluntary donations of time and money from the American people. You can help the victims of [this disaster] and thousands of other disasters across the country each year by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, which enables the Red Cross to provide shelter, food, counseling and other assistance to those in need. Call 1-800-HELP NOW or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish). Contributions to the Disaster Relief Fund may be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013. Internet users can make secure online credit card donations by visiting www.redcross.org.