Story: Bulk Distribution in Florida

July 3, 2012

Florida Flooding Relief
American Red Cross Volunteer Doree Trent thanks Carrie Gorreia of Lake City Florida Catholic Charities for her support at the Gar Pond Distribution Point.

Carrie Correia of the Lake City, Florida Catholic Charities manages a community bulk distribution point at Gar Pond on the outskirts of Lake City. Disaster relief supplies are provided by the American Red Cross and Feeding America.

American Red Cross disaster relief supplies include: comfort and clean-up kits and tarps. Feeding America provides water and meals pre-packaged for four persons.

Carrie has been at the site, twelve hours a day, since Thursday June 28 and expects the distribution point to remain open as long as there is a need and the supplies keep coming.

One of the earliest beneficiaries of the site was the family of Jacob and Lana Critchlow whose home was flooded by the rains of Tropical Storm Debby and cut-off from the community. The Critchlow family evacuated their home by boat and went to friends until the flood water receded. Immediately upon hearing of the distribution point opening in late June the Critchlow family began shuttling disaster relief supplies by boat from the distribution site back into the neighborhood.

Florida Flooding Relief
Jacob Critchlow loads Red Cross comfort kits for his family at the Gar Pond bulk distribution point in Lake City Florida.

Today, July 1, 2012 the Critchlow family was able to drive from their home to receive additional clean-up kits and drinking water. The flood water is slowly receding, but it will be several days before the situation is completely resolved. Lana Critchlow expressed the gratitude of not only her family, but of the entire community, for the rapid response of the American Red Cross, Catholic Charities, Feeding American and the other community partners who assisted the Lake City residents.

Florida Flooding Relief
Members of the Critchlow family loaded with disaster relief supplies leave the Gar Pond distribution point in Lake City Florida.


Story: Tropical Storm Debby

July 2, 2012

This story is written by Red Cross volunteer Vicki Eichstaedt.

Tropical Storm Debby
Juanita Plummer, Joyce Riley, and LaWanda Jones stayed in the Suannee Coliseum Complex Shelter in Live Oak, FL. Their homes were flooded by Tropical Storm Debby.

Pulling up a chair at the long table, Juanita Plummer sat down and bowed her head, saying a few words of thanks before opening the hot lunch provided by American Red Cross disaster partner, The Salvation Army. Joyce Riley and Lawanda Jones soon joined Juanita and me, as I asked to join them.

All three ladies were evacuated from the rising waters that engulfed their homes in Live Oak after TS Debby dumped record amounts of rain across Florida in her wake. Juanita remarked, “I have just never seen anything like it, it was so much, so fast, and I was really scared. I was never so glad to see the beautiful fire truck that rescued me, I would just love to have my name inscribed on that fire truck because I will always remember it!”

Lawanda and her grandkids were evacuated by airboat from their flooded home. “I knew we weren’t going to get out on our own,” Lawanda said. “It was hard to imagine how anything could get to us. Just then, I heard an incredible noise and I thought it was a plane – but it was an airboat! Oh my, I just couldn’t believe it, but my grandkids loved it!”

Joyce was the most stoic of the group, because of a childhood memory. When Joyce was 9 or 10 years old Hurricane Dora forced Joyce’s family, including 9 bothers and sisters, to flee their home by boat(s). “They needed two boats to get us all out,” she recalled with a wry smile, “and we were all very frightened.” The terrible memories came back in a rush as Joyce pounded on neighbor’s doors to alert them to the danger from the rising water.

“You never know what life has in store for you from day to day, but I knew one thing,” Joyce said with conviction, “The Red Cross was there when I was a child, and I knew they would be again. God has angels here on earth, and the people from the Red Cross are proof.”

These lovely ladies all noted their “luck” and their thankfulness to still be alive. “If we have to start over again, we will start over again.” Lawanda noted, “We are here, we are safe, we have our families and each other.”

Soon our lunch conversation turned to more pleasant memories, shared life experiences, stories of our children and bad hair days! I haven’t laughed that much in weeks. I left them all with hugs, they thanked me and the Red Cross, I thanked them for reminding me why I am proud to be a Red Cross volunteer.


Photos: Tropical Storm Debby

July 2, 2012

Tropical Storm Debby

Tropical Storm Debby Tropical Storm Debby Tropical Storm Debby

See entire “Tropical Storm Debby” set on Flickr >>


Press Release: Red Cross Services Being Delivered in Florida

June 29, 2012

Red Cross Services Being Delivered in Florida

Tampa, Fl, June 28, 2012 – American Red Cross services continue to be delivered to those affected by Tropical Storm Debby. Additional personnel and resources continue to arrive in Tampa Bay and throughout the state.

Rivers continue to rise in northern Florida causing some isolated flooding and sinkholes, a common occurrence throughout Florida after heavy rain, are beginning to appear. The sinkholes are caused by Florida’s soft soil and overlaying a porous limestone that is weakened by acid in the rain.

No matter the situation, Red Cross services are being delivered. Currently, there are 12 Red Cross shelters opened throughout the state, over 3,500 meals and snacks have been served. Forty-eight comfort kits and as many clean up kits have been distributed by Red Cross volunteers who are driving Emergency Response Vehicles through the affected neighborhoods. Additionally, there are over 200 Red Cross staff and volunteers providing assistance.


Video: American Red Cross Responds to Tropical Storm Debby

June 28, 2012

The American Red Cross has opened more than a dozen shelters across Florida due to Tropical Storm Debby — among them, the Mike Fasano Regional Hurricane Shelter in Hudson. The storm dropped several inches of rain, over several days, across the state and caused flooding of rivers and low-lying areas.


Photos: Tropical Storm Debby

June 27, 2012

Tropical Storm Debby

Tropical Storm Debby

See entire “Tropical Storm Debby” set on Flickr >>


Press Release: Red Cross Providing Relief in West Coast Florida Region

June 26, 2012

Red Cross Providing Relief in West Coast Florida Region
Debby Causes Flooding and Evacuations, Closes Bridges and Roads

Tampa, FL, June 26, 2012— The American Red Cross is responding to provide aid to those affected as Tropical Storm Debby dumped record amounts of rain in a wide spread area from the Panhandle down the West Coast of Florida.

Disaster Assessment teams continue to evaluate the needs in affected counties and neighborhoods where it is safe to do so. High winds and flooded roads continue to be a concern.
The Red Cross effort is focused on providing safe shelter, food, emergency supplies and emotional support. Hundreds of meals and snacks have been served to local residents and we will continue as long as the community needs us.

In response to Emergency Management in Pasco County, the Red Cross has opened an additional shelter this afternoon as residents follow mandatory evacuation orders in parts of Pasco County. The new shelter location is:

Chasco Elementary School
7906 Ridge Road
Port Richey, FL

Shelters remaining open throughout the affected West Coast area:

Chapel on the Hill United Church of Christ
12601 Park Blvd.
Seminole, FL 33776

Mike Fasano Regional Hurricane Shelter
11611 Denton Ave.
Denton, FL 34667

Greco Middle School
6925 East Fowler Ave.
Temple Terrace, FL 33617


Disaster Alert: Tropical Storm Debby

June 26, 2012

Disaster Alert

Florida – Tropical Storm Warnings and Watches remain in place for several counties throughout the state as Debby continues to affect areas with excessive rainfall and isolated strong to severe winds. Computer models forecast that Debby will track towards the northern portion of the state in the next 3-5 days.

The Governor declared a statewide State of Emergency for the event.

Chapters within the regions have a total of twelve shelters open for residents within the affected areas.

The Disaster Operations Center continues to support the operation with human and material resources.


Disaster Alert: Tropical Storm Debby

June 25, 2012

Disaster Alert

Florida – Tropical Storm Debby caused flooding, spawned tornadoes, damaged homes, washed away roads, closed bridges, downed trees as well as power lines and prompted the evacuation of many residents throughout various portions of the state on Sunday.

Multiple fatalities and injuries reported.

This disaster will continue to unfold throughout the week.
Chapters in the Mid Florida Region placed three shelters and other material resources on stand-by.

Chapters in Florida’s West Coast Region opened three shelters, placed others on stand-by and identified human and material resources for affected-area residents.

Chapters in the North Florida Region deployed Disaster Action Team Members, opened four shelters/reception centers, placed other shelters on stand-by and provided Mass Care to first responders.

Chapters in the South Florida, Palm Beaches-Treasure Coast and Florida’s Southern Gulf Regions conducted call downs to identify human and material resources.


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