Local Red Cross Volunteers Serve in Isaac Relief Efforts
As more than three-dozen local American Red Cross volunteers have spent their past days and nights helping those affected by Isaac in the Gulf Coast, some have been able to take a few moments of down time to correspond with the local Red Cross about their experiences.
Americorps members with the Red Cross Greater St. Louis Region, Renee Schaefer of Kirkwood and Jason Bengtson of St. Louis, are serving meals and operating an emergency response vehicle in Louisiana.
Schaefer sent this message from the field.
"We were teamed with 7 other ERVs (emergency response vehicles) from around the country to serve Jefferson Parish out of kitchen 4 in Gentilly. Jason and I served over 650 meals in the 9th Ward one day and more than 400 in another neighborhood without power the next day. In total, (our vehicle) has served nearly 1,000 meals to the people of New Orleans affected by Isaac."
Schaefer also shared this story from the past weekend.
"Today, a little boy was crying while standing in
line at our ERV (emergency response vehicle) for a hot meal when I tried cheering him up by reminding him it was a three day weekend off of school. He shook his head. As I handed him two bags of Cheetos he cracked a little smile. His mother told me he hadn't eaten since the day before, as the boy thanked me and helped his mother carry their five hot meals back to their family. That one smile and thank you is what makes all the hard work and long hours worth it. Knowing that little boy isn't going hungry tonight is the most rewarding feeling I've ever experienced. I am honored to be a part of this amazing team."
Other duties of local Red Cross volunteers serving in this deployment have included transportation, logistics, government relations, sheltering, disaster mental health and staff wellness. This disaster relief operation has included more than 3,000 trained Red Cross disaster workers who have been providing food, shelter, relief supplies and comfort to thousands of affected residents in several Gulf Coast states.