A Special Holiday Moment of Giving Help and Hope

This story was written by Tammy Forrester, CEO for the Wayne and Lenoir County Chapters of the American Red Cross.

A Special Holiday Moment of Giving Help & Giving Hope

Tammy Forrester (right) brings a mother formula for her baby after they were evacuated from their home due to a fire.

Tammy Forrester (right) brings a mother formula for her baby after they were evacuated from their home due to a fire.

Earlier today I had to stop by the post office in between donor visits. As I stood in the never ending line, a lady turned around to make conversation with me regarding the apartment fires that displaced 6 families this past Saturday.

As we stood waiting our turn at the counter I shared several stories that have unfolded over the week and what the Red Cross has done and how the community had supported us and the families. I answered her questions about Red Cross services and all that we do. She stated that she had No idea we did all of that and thanked me for what we do. She was next in line so we wished each other Merry Christmas and she checked out.

Immediately the gentleman behind me brushed my arm and said, here…”I had been trying to decide who to help and how and after listening to your conversation I decided it should be you…The American Red Cross.” He had stood right behind me in line and written a check for a 1,000 dollars! Now for those of you that really know me I do not have to tell you how excited I was…WOW, not just because of the 1,000 but because of how it all unfolded. Needless to say it was a bright spot in my day.

You too can Give Help and Give Hope by making a donation to the Red Cross

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Disaster and Emergency Responses Increase During Holiday Season

Download the Holiday Disasters Bulletin

Disaster & Emergency Responses Increase During Holiday Season

In just 24 hours your American Red Cross provided more than $10,000 in direct financial assistance for 13 families who lost everything to home fires. This year your American Red Cross-Eastern NC Region has provided more than $450,000 in direct financial assistance for families affected by disasters and that number continues to grow each day.

Children from the Fairview Housing Complex fire play with Mickey dolls they received while Red Cross caseworkers met with the families to provide assistance.

Children from the Fairview Housing Complex fire play with Mickey dolls they received while Red Cross caseworkers met with the families to provide assistance.

“No one has to experience a disaster alone; your American Red Cross volunteers and staff are there to support our neighbors in need, 24-hours a day, 365 days a year,” said Bill Brent, Regional CEO.

Brent added; “In the past week alone, Red Cross has provided both help and hope for more than 20 families affected by disaster and an additional 26 families who have a loved one serving in our Armed Forces and required emergency services through local Red Cross SAF Volunteers. We can’t provide help or hope without your support.”

Five Fires Across Eastern NC Affect 13 Families, 53 People in 24 Hours

On Saturday, December 14, Red Cross workers arrived on scene of a multi-unit apartment fire in Goldsboro just before 5am. While firefighters worked to extinguish the flames, families were transported to the local chapter of the Red Cross where volunteers provided comfort and support to the 20 residents, including 7 children, who were evacuated from their homes.

Red Cross disaster workers were also called on later that day and into the evening to respond to five more single family and multi-unit fires in Winterville, Greenville, Kinston and Rocky Mount that displaced an additional 33 area residents, including 20 children.

“This situation on any given day is bad but right near the holidays it can be even more stressful,” said Tammy Forrester, CEO for the Wayne and Lenoir County Chapters of the American Red Cross.

The Red Cross provided for the immediate needs of 53 residents affected which included shelter, food, seasonal clothing, shoes, child and baby supplies, and emotional support.

Additionally, individuals received comfort kits with personal care items, Red Cross blankets, and other needs as identified, and, every child was given a special stuffed Mickey to bring them a little comfort and cheer during this difficult time.

Supporting Search & Rescue Teams in Jones County

Red Cross volunteers from the Coastal Carolina and Onslow County Chapters supported search and rescue/recovery teams in Jones County for a missing persons search that began on December 10 and lasted nearly a week.

Red Cross staff and volunteers worked in partnership with emergency management and other local organizations to provide sleeping cots and blankets for emergency responders working long hours. They served nearly 500 meals, and more than 700 snacks and beverages for the search teams and the family of the missing person. Trained Red Cross Disaster Mental Health workers also met with family members and searchers alike to offer emotional support and counseling.

Services to the Armed Forces (SAF)

December 6 marked the final day of card collection for the 2013 Holiday Mail for Heroes Campaign; our most successful campaign ever.  With your support, the Eastern NC Region of the American Red Cross collected more than 12,000 holiday cards for U.S. military service members, veterans, and their families, across the country and around the world.  Local Red Cross volunteers will be distributing these cards with messages of gratitude and support to our military instillations throughout eastern NC during the holidays.

Each and every day, Red Cross military case workers provide emergency communications between service members abroad and their families here are home.  Since December 1st, SAF volunteers in eastern NC have made personal contact and/or follow-up calls to dozens of military families and provided them with access to additional community resources and referrals, as well as direct financial assistance.

Tornadoes hit Carteret County Two Days before Thanksgiving

On the evening of November 26, 2 days before Thanksgiving, severe storms and tornadoes swept across eastern NC damaging and destroying a number of  homes in Carteret County.

The Red Cross provided assistance for 16 families that were displaced after the tornado ripped through their homes. Caseworkers met individually with each family to determine their immediate emergency needs and provided shelter, clothing, food, minor medical care, supplies, and emotional support.

“I just can’t tell you how much the support of the Red Cross has meant to me and my neighbors,” said Melvin Hoard, a resident of Atlantic Beach who was displaced after a tornado ripped through his home.

Please Give Help & Hope Today!

Those in need turn to the Red Cross in their darkest hours because they know they can rely on that trusted symbol of disaster relief to see them through to recovery. Your donation helps us fulfill this promise.

You can help people affected by disasters like tornadoes, floods, fires and hurricanes as well as countless crises at home and around the world by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief.

You can donate by visiting www.redcross.org/holiday, calling
1-800-RED CROSS (733-2767) or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.  Contributions can also be sent to or made in person at your local American Red Cross chapter.

Tornado Response in Carteret County

Melvin Hoard thanks Red Cross CEO Bill Brent for the support he received after his house was destroyed by a tornado.

Melvin Hoard thanks Red Cross CEO Bill Brent for the support he received after his house was destroyed by a tornado.

The American Red Cross has been providing assistance to residents of Carteret County whose homes were damaged or destroyed by severe storms and tornadoes that hit the area on November 26, less than two days before Thanksgiving.  Caseworkers met individually with each of the 16 families to determine their immediate emergency needs and provided shelter, clothing, food, minor medical care, supplies, and emotional support.

Melvin Hoard, a resident of Atlantic Beach, received support from the Red Cross after the tornado ripped the roof of his home.  Hoard sustained some minor injuries and said he is lucky to be alive.

“I just can’t tell you how much the support of the Red Cross has meant to me and my neighbors,” said Hoard

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Volunteers canvassed neighborhoods affected by the severe storms and tornadoes to hand out disaster preparedness and response information and inform them of Red Cross services.

Teams of disaster workers canvassed the damaged areas following the storms to make sure people had access to the Red Cross services and information about preparing for and responding to emergencies.

After experiencing what it is like to survive a tornado, Hoard tells others about the importance of heeding storm warnings. “”If you hear a warning or a watch, treat it like it’s knocking at your front door,” advises Hoard.

American Red Cross disaster preparedness starts long before storms hit the area, beginning with keeping supplies and equipment on stand-by all year to help people in need. People are encouraged to take preparedness in their own hands by downloading Red Cross preparedness apps for mobile devices or visiting redcross.org/prepare to create a personal preparedness plan.

The Red Cross has been meeting with fellow community partners to help facilitate long term housing solutions for the families that remain homeless.  Hoard and other tornado victims are grateful for the outpouring of support from local organizations and community members.

“When I get back on my feet; I want to do something to help the Red Cross the same way they have helped me,” said Hoard.

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Volunteers Sonia Johnson (left) and Lanikai Morbley load up supplies to take to residents affected by the tornado.

All Red Cross disaster assistance is free and made possible by voluntary donations of time and money from the American people. A financial gift to American Red Cross Disaster Relief enables the Red Cross to provide shelter, food, counseling and other assistance to those in need.

To make a donation to the Red Cross visit www.redcross.org, call 1-800-RED-CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

Holiday Card Signing Events a Success

girl with card

Emily, 9, decorates a card for service members at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base. “They miss their families.”

The Holiday Mail for Heroes box closes this Friday, December 6.  Thanks to the support of residents throughout eastern NC, we have successfully collected thousands of cards of gratitude that will be distributed to service members and veterans throughout the holidays. Events were held across the region from Wilmington to Elizabeth City in which community members took the time to send words of encouragement and thanks to our military members.

Our official Holiday Mail for Heroes Kickoff was on November 1 at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in Goldsboro.  Check out pictures from the event.  Thanks to the 916th Refueling Wing the event was a great success.

Click on the picture to watch the holiday message

Click on the picture to watch the holiday message

The Cape Fear Chapter hosted a card signing event on November 14 at the 105th Anniversary of Service Reception where donors and community partners showed their support for our members of the military by sending messages of hope and gratitude.

Wayne County Red Cross board member Tara Humphries signs cards with Col. Gilmour of Seymour Johnson Air Force Base

Wayne County Red Cross board member Tara Humphries signs cards with Col.
Gilmour of Seymour Johnson Air Force Base

The Red Cross will now be working throughout the month of December to distribute the cards to service members and veterans in our area. Volunteers are needed during December to help local Red Cross chapters deliver the cards along with some sweet treats to the military instillations in your community. Contact your Red Cross chapter to find out how you can get involved.

Give Something that Means Something and Double Your Holiday Donation

Alabama Tornadoes 2011This holiday season the American Red Cross is urging people to give something that means something by making a financial donation through the 2013 Holiday Donor Challenge campaign. You can give hope to local families in need and DOUBLE the impact of your contribution through a matching gift incentive.

Thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor, the first $20,000 in financial contributions to the Cape Fear Chapter of the American Red Cross will be matched this holiday season. Every donation will be matched dollar for dollar in  support of the vital programs and services provided to area residents by the Red Cross. Your donation can help save the day when fire destroys a neighbor’s house, when a patient needs blood, or when a member of the military has a family emergency back home.

rco_blog_img_tornado“We ask people to be generous in their support of the Red Cross this holiday season, and help us to provide assistance and relief to local neighbors in need,” said Vicki LaBelle, Executive Director for the Cape Fear Chapter of the American Red Cross. “We know these are difficult times for families and businesses across our nation.  That’s why we’re grateful for the ability to offer supporters this opportunity to double the impact of their holiday donation through this incredible matching gift incentive.”

Your tax-deductible contribution can be made by:

  • Mail or In Person: American Red Cross, Cape Fear Chapter 1102 South 16th St., Wilmington NC 28401
    Office Hours: M-F 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • Phone: 910.343-5833
  • Online: www.redcross.org/capefear

Two thousand and thirteen has been a busy year for the American Red Cross. Red Cross chapters responded to more nearly 70,000 disasters across the country, including major relief operations for wildfires that burned hundreds of thousands of acres; tornadoes that destroyed entire towns; and flooding that left communities under water.

Over the past year, our local Cape Fear Chapter has provided the following vital programs and services in fulfillment of the Red Cross mission:

  • Responded to 146 local disasters (primarily home fires) and provided more than $94,000 in direct assistance and relief to 161 families (508 individuals) including 194 children (age 17 and under).
  • Disseminated Community Disaster Education information and materials to 17,185 area residents at 70 community events throughout our five-county jurisdiction.
  • Made 1,325 client referrals to other community agencies and resources.
  • Supported 495 area blood drives through which 16,368 units of blood were collected and distributed to area hospitals to meet the needs of local patients; each unit of blood has to the potential to help up to 3 patients.
  • Facilitated emergency communications and other assistance for 536 military members and their families.
  • Provided “Get To Know Us” information to 246 military members and their families and delivered more than 2,500 holiday cards and cookies to active duty and veteran service members and their families across our five counties.
  • Trained 2,878 area residents in first aid, CPR, babysitter’s training, water safety and other lifesaving skills through certification courses taught by local Red Cross instructors.
  • Reached 301,099 community members through electronic and interactive health and safety
    course materials and other preparedness information accessed through redcross.org, Red Cross
    social media sites, and via free Red Cross apps that can be downloaded for Android and Apple
    devices.
  • Assisted with 3 international tracing cases and one international information and referral request.
  • And, mobilized volunteer resources and financial support from our community to aid in relief efforts across the country in the aftermath of disasters such as Hurricane Irene, Superstorm Sandy, The Oklahoma Tornadoes, and the Western wildfires and floods to name a few.

All of this was made possible through the dedicated service of nearly 450 volunteers, a handful of paid staff members, and the generous support of nearly 2,000 local financial donors, and thousands of area blood donors.

The work of the American Red Cross impacts lives every day, and it is only through the continued generosity of our donors, partners, and volunteers that this is possible.