The Red Cross is here to help


By Stacy Brandon and Ann M. Wright - Contributing Columnists



We’ve never been more proud to be a part of the American Red Cross. We’ve been through so much in South Carolina this year and when our neighbors needed care and comfort, the American Red Cross was there.

When a fire destroys a home in your neighborhood, right here in the Upstate, our local fire departments call the Red Cross to help the survivors. Our volunteers ensure the family has a place to sleep, food to eat, clothes to wear and the support that they need to piece their lives together from the ashes. On average, Upstate volunteers respond to two fires every day, helping more than 1,790 people every year.

Not only does the Red Cross help after a home fire, we are also working to prevent home fires before they occur. We are working with local fire departments across the state to save lives by installing 50,000 smoke alarms over the next two years. We will be teaching families how to reduce their risk of suffering a home fire and reducing loss of life and property when fires do occur.

When a gunman opened fire in a sacred house of worship, gunning down nine parishioners and shattering the Holy City to its core, the Red Cross stood with our neighbors as they grieved. We brought water and aid to mourners in Charleston and across the state. We helped the families of the victims, the survivors, and all those affected by this tragedy, providing emotional support and care as the community came together to heal.

None of us will ever forget the severe storms and relentless torrential rains that led to historic levels of flooding in October. Many South Carolinians were forced to leave their homes to seek safe shelters while others were being rescued from floodwaters. Your Red Cross, including many of our Upstate volunteers, along with our community and government partners, opened 35 shelters across the state with more than 4,700 overnight stays. We took care of our neighbors, providing nearly 7,000 health and emotional support contacts. We made sure that people had the essentials, working with our partners to distribute more than 154,000 meals, snacks, and drinks as well as more than 181,000 relief items such as cleanup kits. We’ve been here since the first drop of rain and — even though recovery is a long, slow process — we will continue to be here for those who need us.

The American Red Cross of South Carolina and its more than 4,000 volunteers is out in our community every day providing lifesaving health and safety training; supporting our military and their families; coordinating blood drives; and responding to disasters.

The Red Cross is a private non-profit organization and it is because of the generosity of individuals and corporate partners that it is able to be there for the Upstate and communities across the nation when they need help the most.

Our community showed how caring it was during the floods when many people stepped up to help their friends and neighbors by volunteering with the Red Cross. Here in the Upstate, we currently have 750 people who proudly call themselves Red Cross volunteers. Volunteer opportunities at the Red Cross allow people to give back and assist their community and its members. We encourage you be part of the lifesaving work we do by becoming a Red Cross volunteer and registering on our website.

For more information about the American Red Cross in the Upstate, contact us at 864-271-8222 or go online to www.redcross.org/sc.

Stacy Brandon is Chair of the Board and Ann M. Wright is Executive Director of the American Red Cross of Upstate, SC.

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By Stacy Brandon and Ann M. Wright

Contributing Columnists

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