Many in our community have reached out and asked if we are supporting the efforts in Florida. Yes, we are providing support as well as maintaining our own local disasters each and every day. Just in the past week, we have seen over 7 home fires locally and proving much needed assistance to our local community. I felt an update on the efforts the American Red Cross is providing in Florida would be beneficial. Please share how you see fit to our East Texas Community!

Here is a latest update on what the American Red Cross is providing for our neighbors in Florida. Please pray for and support our local East Texas volunteers, volunteers across the country and ALL the victims in the effected area as the recovery will be hard and long. Through my lens as the Executive Director of our East Texas Local Chapter, I can’t keep but feeling the sense of Patriotism and love I have for America and its generosity during times of distress. This disaster will truly take all American’s support in some form or fashion and I have had a front row seat this past week to the most extraordinary acts of kindness, giving and humanitarianism I have ever witnessed.  I am in awe of what this great organization has mobilized in terms of volunteers, resources and supplies during this overwhelming devastation. Please continue to pray, donate and support these efforts!

American Red Cross volunteers from across the country are working around the clock in Florida to provide food, shelter and comfort for people facing the heartbreaking devastation left behind by

Hurricane Ian. With their support and help from our partners, we’re reaching more people and communities in need each day.

  • Red Cross volunteers are focused on reaching out to offer relief and support so that no one faces this tough time alone. Each day you’ll see more Red Cross vests reaching more hard-hit neighborhoods.
  • More than 80 Red Cross emergency response vehicles are on the roads delivering tens of thousands of meals and relief supplies. Our East Texas Chapter Emergency Response Vehicle is there on the ground feeding about 1000 meals a day!
  • Disaster aid stations are open where people can get food and relief supplies, and trained volunteers are providing health and mental health support to families who have suffered unimaginable loss.
  • Emergency shelters are open to give people a safe place to rest. Currently, there are 16 Red Cross managed shelters in Florida.  We are supporting over half of the shelter population! The American Red Cross just took over Hertz Arena for sheltering late yesterday.
  • Anyone who has been affected by the storm is welcome to stop by a shelter to get information, a hot meal, charge their phone, pick up relief supplies and get other essential support.
  • Trained Red Cross volunteers are also helping families cope during this challenging time and replacing prescription medications, eyeglasses or critical medical equipment like canes and wheelchairs.
  • More than 2,500 Red Crossers from all 50 states and the District of Columbia are supporting relief efforts, and, with our partners, we have provided nearly 206,000 meals and snacks to people in need.
  • On Monday alone, some 60,000 meals were provided. More volunteers are on the way. Our East Texas Chapter has 7 local volunteers deployed to Florida.
  • With the help of our partner, the Southern Baptist Convention, several mobile kitchens are cooking tens of thousands of hot meals each day.

  • Today, teams will travel to Charlotte, Manatee and Lee counties to deliver food, begin needs assessments to transition evacuation centers to emergency shelters and provide additional support services.
  • Before the storm, the Red Cross mobilized 83 truckloads of additional cots, blankets and comfort kits, along with tens of thousands of relief supplies, to be prepared to help as many as 60,000 people. Emergency response vehicles are also pre-positioned across the state and mobilizing each day.
    • We are working closely with local officials to open more longer-term shelters for people who are still under evacuation orders, are unable to reach their homes or have homes that are now unlivable because of the storm. Our goal is to make this transition as smooth as possible for people needing shelter.
    • As conditions slowly improve, response efforts will expand as evacuation centers transition to emergency shelters with more robust services.
  • In preparation of catastrophic landfall, hundreds of Type O blood products were transported to Florida to ensure blood remains available for patients in areas expected to be impacted by the storm.
    • It’s important to remember that blood is perishable and cannot be stockpiled. With a short shelf life of just 42 days for blood and just five days for platelets, the supply must be continuously replenished.
    • Blood can take up to three days to be tested, processed and made available for patients, so it’s the blood already on the shelves that helps save lives in an emergency.
    • As the storm inundates more and more communities in the Southeast, the Red Cross urges individuals in unaffected areas to schedule a blood donation appointment to ensure lifesaving blood remains available for patients in impacted areas.

  • With the help of our partner, the Southern Baptist Convention, several mobile kitchens are cooking tens of thousands of hot meals each day.
  • To help people affected by Hurricane Ian, visit, call 1-800-RED CROSS, or text the word IAN to 90999 to make a donation.
    • You can also make a donation at your local East Texas Red Cross Chapter office at 320 E. Rieck Rd. Tyler, TX 75703
  • Please schedule an appointment to give blood today by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
AUTHOR: John Berry
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