SPRINGFIELD – Volunteers with the American Red Cross Disaster Relief team were among the first to arrive to areas affected by some of the worst flooding in recent Illinois history. During the response phase of this disaster, the volunteer organization has been tasked with providing food and shelter for families affected by flooding, and feed emergency crews and soldiers working in the field for critical flood fighting duties.
“It’s important to note that we are a 90% volunteer organization, and we’re here to help and deploy our resources, sometimes before a disaster hits,” said Steve Wise of New Lenox, IL., a volunteer and shelter lead with the American Red Cross. Wise has been working with emergency agencies in response to flooding in central Illinois.
Wise and his team work in tandem with emergency response agencies, coordinating volunteers and local organizations to ensure families displaced by floodwaters have food and shelter until they can return home.
To date, more than 200 volunteers have assisted people throughout Illinois by serving more than 9,500 meals and distributing more than 900 emergency relief supplies. “The Red Cross appreciates the generosity of its donors and volunteers in helping us provide services to those most in need, and we greatly appreciate the partnership with our government, non-government and faith-based organization partners to help us provide that service,” said Red Cross Coordinating Officer, David Gutierrez.
Some of the organizations working the flood operations include the Illinois National Guard, United States Coast Guard, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Illinois Emergency Management Agency, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Illinois Law Enforcement Alarm System, Mutual Aid Box Alarm System, Illinois Incident Management Team and more.
“Countless volunteer organizations and local businesses have stepped up to the plate to offer meals and water stations for the men and women working along river,” said Acting IEMA Director Alicia Tate-Nadeau. “This is a true testament of the spirit of Illinoisans. We work together, hand-in-hand, to help our friends and neighbors in need.”
The American Red Cross has two shelters open (Valmeyer, Jerseyville) and dozens more identified across the state to help those impacted by flooding. Call 1-800-Red Cross for 24-hour Disaster Relief Support.