Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Just Another Saturday Morning

Just Another Saturday Morning

Yesterday morning at 8 a.m. I joined more than fifty Lubbock residents to participate in the Lubbock American Red Cross Smoke Alarm Installation Project.  We met first in the Lubbock High School cafeteria, where we were welcomed with a large buffet of baked goods and coffee donated by a local business, accompanied by sounds of the LHS Band rehearsing in the parking lot next door.

I chose to sit nearer the front at a table with 3 others, one of whom I learned was a new graduate student at TTU.  Following introductions, acknowledgements (LIA was recognized), and the power point orientation, we broke into Teams of 2 to begin our morning of installations.  The Teams with prior experience exited the cafeteria first – and that left all of 2 of us remaining, the TTU student and me!  So after picking up our supplies we joined Richard Alires’ experienced Team for the first appointment, and then we were on our own.  “He” took care of the installations, “She” took care of the paperwork.

Over the next 2+ hours we met four more families, installing 2-3 detectors in each home and providing guidelines on how to prevent fires and how to respond to the alarms.  And we talked.

We talked about dogs and their value as the ‘someone’s in the yard’ alarm.  We talked about families, children, and grandchildren.  We talked about people’s military service.  We talked about health concerns and disabilities.  We talked about our futures.  We learned about a young man’s fond memories of his high school English and history classes, and watched his eyes light up when he considered going back to school.  We talked with a high school student who shared his love of art and wanted us to see his sketchbook.  We learned how a Vietnam veteran lost his hearing when the bullet entered the back of his head and exploded in his eardrum.  And each time we said good-bye it was with warm handshakes and even warmer hugs.

Before we neared the end of the morning it was beautifully clear.  The Smoke Alarms were simply the vehicle.  They were the vehicle for the larger purpose of human beings connecting once again, sharing the everyday and the intimate, with affection and respect, knowing we are part of one human family.  The morning was a privilege and a gift.

And when “He” and “She” parted?  We agreed – we are already signed on for the Smoke Alarm Installation Project in 2017.  But between time?  We promised to email soon and meet at Starbucks next week!

Submitted by a guest writer S.M.

Monday, October 3, 2016

INFORMATION UPDATE: Hurricane Matthew, International and Domestic Readiness October 3, 2016 at 3:00 PM ET

INFORMATION UPDATE: Hurricane Matthew, International and Domestic Readiness
October 3, 2016 at 3:00 PM ET

Hurricane Matthew is less than 24 hours from delivering a potentially catastrophic strike on Haiti, and will also impact parts of Jamaica, eastern Cuba and the Bahamas before making expected landfall in parts of the United States later this week. It is a slow moving storm, making it particularly dangerous as affected areas will be exposed to high winds and rain for extended periods of time. Over a foot of rainfall may trigger life-threatening conditions. Haiti in particular is at risk of catastrophic mudslides and flash flooding due to deforestation.  

Projected Storm Path:
Haiti/Dominican Republic: Late Monday / Tuesday
Jamaica: Late Monday / Tuesday
Eastern Cuba: Tuesday / Tuesday night
Southeast & central Bahamas / Turks & Caicos: Tuesday afternoon into at least Wednesday night

Internationally, National Red Cross Societies across the Caribbean and central America are ramping up preparedness measures as Hurricane Matthew approaches Jamaica and Haiti. 

“Our Red Cross teams in Jamaica, Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Colombia are currently running preparedness activities with the communities. Our volunteers and staff stand ready to respond immediately to the needs”, said Walter Cotte, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) regional director for the Americas.

In Jamaica, the Jamaican Red Cross has prepositioned blankets for over 1,000 families, kitchen kits for over 1,000 families and cleaning kits for 300 families.

The Red Cross of the Dominican Republic has prepositioned stocks for approximately 2,500 people. 

The National Society has 21 water treatment plants at its disposal. Water and sanitation teams as well as psychological support and health teams are on standby.

In Haiti, the Haitian Red Cross has put all its branches on alert and prepositioned stock to respond to the needs of more than 3,000 people.

The American Red Cross is collaborating with local national societies and the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) to help build preparedness and response capacity.

The American Red Cross has a delegation in Haiti, comprised of approximately 200 Haitian nationals, which is supporting the Haitian Red Cross with preparedness activities.

Three ongoing programs in Haiti have been working to strengthen communities’ disaster preparedness in anticipate of events like this hurricane.

The American Red Cross also has a strong presence in the Caribbean with programs that focus on disaster risk reduction, including activities to train local disaster response teams, map evacuation routes, and develop early warning systems.

The American Red Cross in the U.S. is in close communication with at-risk and impacted Red Cross societies throughout the Caribbean to provide support.

The American Red Cross is providing Information Management and Geographic Information Systems (IM/GIS) support remotely for Hurricane Matthew. This includes the production of maps of Haiti to illustrate which zones are most susceptible to floods and landslides.

For those concerned about loved ones outside the United States: The best way to locate U.S. citizens living or traveling overseas is to contact the U.S. Department of State, Office of Overseas Citizens Services, at 1-888-407-4747 or +1 202-501-4444. Those searching for non-U.S. citizen family members can contact the American Red Cross Restoring Family Links unit at

Domestically, the American Red Cross is closely monitoring the path of Hurricane Matthew and its potential to affect the U.S. later this week.

Disaster teams are assessing supplies, equipment and availability of volunteers in case a response is needed.

Red Cross workers are also coordinating with government officials and partner organizations to finalize potential response plans and share information.

Over the weekend, the Red Cross worked closely with the military leadership at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to help members of the military and their families prepare for the impending storm. In case of an emergency, military families should call 877-272-7337 or go to

Hurricanes are strong storms that can be life-threatening as well as cause serious property-threatening hazards such as flooding, storm surge, high winds and tornadoes. Preparation is the best protection against the dangers of a hurricane. Know the difference between the threat levels and plan accordingly.

Annual Disaster Giving Program and Disaster Responder
Through the generosity of our American Red Cross Annual Disaster Giving Program (ADGP) and Disaster Responder members, the American Red Cross is prepared before disaster strikes. ADGP and Disaster Responder members help secure a reliable funding base for disaster relief services that enables the Red Cross to respond immediately, meeting the needs of individuals and families affected by disaster, regardless of cost.

Right now the Red Cross is on the ground and taking action with the support of our ADGP and Disaster Responder partners.

Current ADGP $1M members are:
American Airlines
Anheuser-Busch Foundation
Anthem Foundation
Boise Paper
Caterpillar Foundation  
Costco Wholesale
Delta Airlines   
Enterprise Rent-A-Car Foundation
The Home Depot Foundation
Humble Bundle
LDS Charities
Lowe's Companies, Inc.
Mazda North American Operations
Merck Foundation
Nationwide Foundation
State Farm
VSP Vision care for life
Walmart and the Walmart Foundation
The Wawa Foundation

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Red Cross Hero Care Mobile App

The American Red Cross has a long history of supporting military members, veterans and their families. Now, the Red Cross has launched a new, free Hero Care App to provide instant access to vital Red Cross services anywhere in the world. Whether you’re the parent of a child joining the military, a military member, spouse or a veteran, the app will guide you to valuable resources and services that can help alleviate stress and provide important information right at your fingertips. The Hero Care App highlights the extensive array of services the Red Cross has available for members of the military, veterans and their families.

 •Some the important features of the app include:
o Request Red Cross emergency services including an emergency message or assistance with emergency travel or emergency financial aid.
o Securely and easily access information about their service member in the case of an emergency, including updated information as they move or change duty assignments.
o Access non-emergency Red Cross behavioral health assistance including financial assistance and free local workshops for military kids and spouses.
o Find local resources and information provided by trusted community partners like Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), Blue Star Families, Military Child Education Coalition, United Way, Goodwill, Easter Seals, and others.
o Locate information on key government resources such as MilitaryOneSource, VA Benefits and Services, Department of Labor VETS, the VA Caregiver Support Program, and SAMSHA Community Health Support Services.

  • Users can also connect with other Red Cross apps including the Emergency, First Aid and Blood apps.

 • Information in the app is available in both English and Spanish and a user can even use the app to share their own Red Cross stories and photos The Hero Care App is free of charge and available for both iOS and Android devices.

• To download to your smart phone or tablet, search for ‘American Red Cross’ in your app store, text GETHEROCARE to 90999 to receive a link to download the app or go to

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Red Cross Begins Casework and Limited Financial Assistance for People in Louisiana

September 03, 2016

Register online at or call (855) 224-2490
WASHINGTON, D.C. — September 3, 2016 — The American Red Cross is beginning recovery casework to help connect Louisiana flood survivors with the services and resources that will help them to get back on their feet. For those who qualify, the Red Cross will also provide limited financial assistance of $125 per person (example: family of four = $500).
This recovery support begins even as Red Cross volunteers continue to operate shelters, serve meals and distribute critical relief supplies across much of Louisiana--support that will continue for the coming weeks.
“People in Louisiana are ready to take the next step, to try to get back to a normal life, to have a home again instead of staying in a shelter,” said Joshua Joachim, regional executive for the Louisiana Red Cross Region. “We encourage those affected to register immediately with FEMA for federal disaster assistance, which can be substantial. In addition, the Red Cross will make available trained caseworkers to help people locate other services and resources, and, if they qualify, limited financial assistance for immediate needs.”
“Red Cross financial assistance will be available to help those who don’t qualify for federal disaster assistance and who have had major damage to their homes,” said Harvey Johnson, senior vice president, Red Cross Disaster Cycle Services. “We believe this is the fastest, most efficient way to get a small amount of money into the hands of people who can then make decisions about what is best for their families. Plus, spending these funds here in Louisiana will also allow local communities to begin to recover from the economic loss the flooding caused.”
Red Cross assistance will be available to those who meet both of the following criteria:
1) They do not qualify for federal disaster assistance
2) They have had major damage or their home has been destroyed
People who may be eligible for Red Cross financial assistance should register online or call 855-224-2490. People who are deaf, hard of hearing or require accessible communications may text 571-422-1144. If someone is still in a shelter, Red Cross workers will help with their registration. After someone registers, the Red Cross will contact them within 48 to 72 hours.
Caseworkers will verify the person’s identity, the number of people in the household, cross-check the person’s information with federal registration records and validate the flooding damage to their home.
If qualified, people will be eligible for $125 per person to support recovery efforts. For example, a family of four will receive $500. For those who do not qualify for financial assistance, Red Cross caseworkers can still help to create recovery plans and locate assistance from other agencies.
The Red Cross recognizes that each family and each community will have different needs and require different support. Red Cross financial assistance can help families begin their recovery by providing funds which can be used for such needs as an apartment deposit, to buy clothes or food, or to cover immediate transportation expenses.
“This historic flooding caused a wide range of needs, more than any one organization can meet on their own,” Joachim stated. “The Red Cross is only one part of the broader network of both government and community agencies helping Louisianans to recover. While we can’t meet every need, we can work with our partners to ensure that we do our part to keep people safe and comfortable during these trying times.”
The Red Cross casework and financial assistance is in addition to the round-the-clock disaster support volunteers have been providing since the flooding began. As of Saturday, September 3, the Red Cross and our partners have:
Served more than 857,000 meals and snacks
Distributed more than 541,000 relief items
Provided more than 68,000 overnight stays in emergency shelters
Handled more than 31,000 calls from people seeking help
Provided nearly 29,000 health services and emotional support contacts
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.