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Charley's victims need our help

By Staff
During these last several days as the Olympics plays on television, there has been a great sense of pride in the determination of not only athletes from the United States, but all the athletes. Somehow, it didn't matter if they were in the sand with beach volleyball or wrestling, and OH! how exciting the tumbling, the "rings," and high bar or uneven bar exercises have been. It would almost make me want to think I could still tumble or jump on the trampoline. I did say almost… But how exciting to be able to take a small part in their exciting adventures by watching and cheering them on, (despite the time difference).
During this same time, sweat, pain, tears and hard, hard work under hardship conditions has been going on closer to us in Florida. More than 1,938 volunteers have been working together to help survivors begin the recovery process from Hurricane Charley and Tropical Storm Bonnie. Please take the time to read the following statistics and consider making a donation to the American Red Cross.
It has been estimated that the disaster operation for Hurricane Charlie nationwide will be the fifth largest. The goal for the Disaster Fund nationwide is $50 million. East Escambia County has been asked to set a goal of $5,803.00.
Do you remember when we last flooded and meals were given out and shelters stayed open and assistance for recovery was given? American Red Cross Disaster Funds of more than $150,000 came into East Escambia County coverage area. Everyone around the country helped us then. Please consider helping others now. There are also disaster services ongoing in North Carolina, and Virginia from Bonnie and Charley.
To date, the Red Cross has provided our neighbors in Florida with more than 1.9 million meals and snacks. There are 134 ERV (Emergency Relief Vehicles) running in the affected areas and 15 shelters are now) providing safe havens for those who have lost their homes. (Early on in the process there were 246 shelters up and running.)
To date, 1,938 Red Cross Disaster volunteers have been activated and deployed to supplement local chapter volunteers in Florida. 156 of the 1,938 volunteers are (locally-affected) community volunteers. Many of those responders have been staying in staff shelters; hopefully all responders will be in hotels by this weekend.
Some of the organizations working in support of the Red Cross efforts through partnerships are familiar names. The North American Mission Board Southern Baptist Disaster Relief organization is supporting the Red Cross partnership by operating kitchens throughout the affected area. Through the cooperative efforts of Red Cross and Southern Baptist, nearly 200,000 meals and snacks are served each day. Thirteen operational kitchens are located in various Florida locations.
The US Public Health Services Commission Corps (USPHS) has been activated and there are 11 nurses and 10 mental health professionals deployed to assist Red Cross Disaster Health and Mental Health workers.
A second wave of 26 officers has been recruited. National Voluntary Agencies Active in Disaster (NVOAD) has been activated and is staffing the FEMA National Resource Coordination Center.
FEMA, Homeland Security, Emergency Management, several Labor Unions, Teamsters, and Carpenters Locals have donated people or places for outreach, or transportation assistance in cooperation with Red Cross. Frankly, I can't boil down the 10 pages of information to fit a column or letter in the paper. I am leaving so much out. But there is so much need.
How can we best help? Because of the difficulty of transportation of individually donated items to the client, not to mention the lack of storage facilities, donations of "things" from individuals are not accepted. However, donations of money assists in several ways, one of which is that local economies are given a much needed boost to begin their recovery.
Please consider helping through a donation. There is no amount too small. You can access the web at www.redcross.org. You can send a check or money order in care of your local chapter (867-3426) made out to the American Red Cross Disaster Fund (P.O. Box 252, Brewton, AL 36427.) In either case a receipt will be given and the thanks of all those affected not only in Florida, but also in Virginia and North Carolina. And, at this time there is a Hurricane Francis out there too, although we don't know her final destination yet.
Thank you for your consideration and the time taken to read all of this information. Sitting back and watching the Olympics is great entertainment, but by donating to the Red Cross Disaster Fund, you can be an active part of the recovery of thousands of households. You can make a real lasting difference because "Together we can save a life" is not just a slogan!
Red Cross aid is an outright gift. It is provided for by voluntary contributions from the American people. All Red Cross disaster help is free.