Red Cross in relief

Published 9:33 pm Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Red Cross volunteers pass out lunches to residents still without power Tuesday afternoon. (WDN PHOTO/ Mona Moore)

Since Sunday’s storm, the American Red Cross has worked day and night to feed and tend to the needs of any affected Beaufort County resident who contacted them.
There were some requests the volunteer organization could not fulfill, said volunteer Lorrie Beach.
“They seem to think we can do something about the power,” Beach said with a grin.
Local Red Cross volunteers mobilized soon after the storm.
By Monday, a cooling shelter had been opened at P.S. Jones Middle School. The school remained open until all of the shelter clients had found alternate housing. It was closed at 3 p.m. Tuesday.
Monday also saw the first round of meal deliveries. Red Cross volunteers traveled to remote parts of the county and the areas hardest hit and delivered 150 lunches that had been provided by contract through a local restaurant.
That night, hot meals were served at the shelter, and volunteers were out until after midnight serving meals and water to people in every corner of the county.
“When your community hurts, you just want to get out there and help them,” Beach said.
Meal distribution continued Tuesday. The Salvation Army prepared 200 meals that Red Cross volunteers delivered. Beach said Beaufort County nonprofits often work as a team during emergencies.
Red Cross volunteers used the meal distribution as an opportunity to make individual family assessments. They recorded damage details and referred families to agencies that could help with issues the Red Cross does not cover.
“I thank the Lord for sending y’all here,” said 75-year-old Della Spell when volunteers delivered meals to her and her family. “Lord, I love it. I just love it.”
Fallen trees missed her home, but her garden was buried underneath an oak tree in her front yard.
Spell said this was not the first time the Red Cross had been there when she needed it.
“One time, we had a flood and they were really good to us,” Spell said.
Beach said her heart breaks for those who were affected by the disaster.
“It always seems like the people who can least afford it are the people affected most by these disasters,” she said. “It seems like (the families) are just a magnet to them.”
Beach said all Red Cross disaster services are free. Because the nonprofit is not a government organization, it depends on donations to operate.
The organization is always in need of funds and warm bodies, said Beach. The Greater Pamlico Chapter of the American Red Cross’ office is especially in need of bilingual volunteers. Many of the storm victims were Spanish-speaking, and the organization had to have a Wilson resident volunteer to interpret.
To volunteer, visit the Greater Pamlico Chapter of the American Red Cross, located at 135 N. Market St., Washington, or call 252-946-4119.
To help people affected by these disasters, make a donation to support American Red Cross disaster relief by visiting, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.