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You can help the Midwest

June 24, 2008 - Frank Robinson
During a Rotary meeting last Wednesday, I was talking with Cheryl Oblinger about the American Red Cross. She is the executive director of the ARC of Trumbull and Mercer Counties. What sparked the conversation was the fact that the Red Cross was having to borrow money to cover the expenses of recent disasters, specifically the flooding in the Midwest. My simple question was, what can people locally do to help? Here is her reply, via email: "Here is the information I received yesterday regarding the Red Crossá efforts in response to the recent disasters. Even more detailed information can be obtained at the following address:" -- The American Red Cross is helping the victims of flooding and tornadoes across seven states-an enormous geographic area. From the plains of Kansas to the mountains of West Virginia, the Red Cross is on the scene with vast amounts of clean up supplies, dozens of shelters and tens of thousands of meals. -- We are less than two weeks into hurricane season and already the Red Cross is facing the largest combined relief effort since last fallás California wildfires. We are handling 11 major relief operations and the biggest flooding operation in 15 years. The current relief operations follow two extremely busy months for the Red Cross, with 27 disaster operations in April and May. -- 2008 is on track to break the U.S. record for the number of twisters in a year, according to the National Weather Service. -- Flood waters are reaching record levels in areas of Wisconsin and Iowa and the impact may spread to more than 500,000 people in those states and down river. -- Media reports compare the current situation to the 1993 floods, making this an unpredictable and potentially dangerous time for many people.

The American Red Cross is Responding -- The American Red Cross and its partner organizations have opened 41 shelters with nearly 5000 overnight stays. -- First aid and mental health staff are on site to provide counseling and support. -- 58 emergency response vehicles and more than 1,400 Red Cross workers are on site in Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Wisconsin and West Virginia. -- Red Cross workers have distributed thousands of clean up supplies, including mops, brooms, work gloves and other items. -- Through the âSafe and Wellã Web site, the Red Cross provides an easy way to assist people in locating loved ones who evacuate their homes or communities. -- This is an evolving weather situation with more rain and severe weather predicted. -- Red Cross disaster workers are prepared to respond as the situation demands. -- Red Cross chapters along the Mississippi River are monitoring the situation, preparing shelters and readying supplies. -- We encourage everyone to take the necessary precautions to protect their families and loved ones before the disaster strikes. -- Be Red Cross Ready. 1. Get a kit 2. Make a Plan 3. Be Informed. Check for additional preparedness information.

Disaster Victims Need Your Help -- This is a time for people to help each other-no matter where they live. Weáre asking you to help your neighbors around the block and in the next state -- The American Red Cross anticipates spending in excess of $15 million for recent disasters. -- The help we give people depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public. So we are issuing an appeal to citizens in every state to help those affected. -- Weáre asking people to be as flexible as possible when making their giving choices. A gift to the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund allows us to help disaster victims anywhere people are suffering. -- With record severe weather, flooding and hurricane season yet to come, itás important for the Red Cross to be ready to jumpstart disaster relief operation anywhere. The Disaster Relief Fund is the safety net that allows us to do just that. -- You can help the victims of thousands of disasters across the country each year, disasters like the Central U.S. Floods and Tornados, by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. This Fund enables the Red Cross to provide shelter, food, counseling and other assistances to the victims of disasters. The American Red Cross honors donor intent. If you wish to designate your donation to a specific disaster please do so at the time of your donation by visiting · or calling 1-800-RED CROSS or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish). -- The Red Cross is asking residents in areas unaffected by this disaster to give blood to help ensure the blood supplies are stable. -- Due to the flooding, several blood drives have been canceled. --With more rain predicted in many areas, the Red Cross is expecting more cancellations as flood waters continue to rise. -- Eligible donors are encouraged to call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE or visit us online at to schedule an appointment for the days and weeks ahead.


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