New Jersey volunteers deploy to Louisiana to help with relief efforts

PRINCETON, NJ -  The American Red Cross is helping thousands of people in Louisiana after unprecedented flooding has left many rivers in record flood stage. More than 10,600 people sought refuge in nearly 50 Red Cross and community shelters in Louisiana Sunday evening.

“This is an extremely chaotic situation right now, with life-threatening flood waters, power outages and road closures complicating relief efforts – as many local volunteers have also been directly affected by the flooding,” said Brad Kieserman, vice president, Disaster Services Operations and Logistics for the Red Cross. “This is by far our largest sheltering effort in Louisiana since Hurricane Isaac, and the bulk of this staggering devastation is in areas that typically don’t experience flooding. The Red Cross is mobilizing a massive relief effort which could be our largest since Hurricane Sandy.”

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Thousands of people have been forced from their homes with little but the clothes on their backs. Red Cross disaster volunteers are providing shelter, food and comfort. Additional volunteers, relief supplies and emergency response vehicles are moving toward Louisiana now to bolster response efforts.

Red Cross volunteers from New Jersey are among those assisting with relief efforts in Louisiana. Kathy Wong of Florham Park has deployed to serve as a shelter supervisor, Mary Sterling of Freehold and Linda Kolman of Ventnor City are also working at shelters, and Lynn Paul of Voorhees and Barry Verbel of Somerset are helping with feeding services.

“Many volunteers with the Red Cross in Louisiana came to New Jersey to help following Superstorm Sandy and I am grateful to our New Jersey volunteers who are now providing help and hope to those affected by massive flooding in Louisiana,” said Ana Montero, regional CEO, American Red Cross New Jersey Region. “The Red Cross will be on the ground for weeks helping Louisiana families who have lost their homes and everything they own. Please join the Red Cross in supporting Louisiana by making a much needed financial donation today.”

The Red Cross has also mobilized 60 disaster response vehicles, 40,000 ready-to-eat meals, and more than two dozen trailer loads of shelter and kitchen supplies. Flooding is expected to continue for several days, and once waters recede it will take some time to fully uncover the extent of the devastation. The Red Cross will be working closely with partners in the days ahead to ensure people receive the help they need as quickly as possible.

HOW TO HELP  To help people affected by the Louisiana Floods, visit redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text the word LAFLOODS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from these disasters.

FLOODING SAFETY INFORMATION The Red Cross wants to help New Jersey families be prepared for floods and other disasters and has a variety of free resources and tools to help maker preparedness easier. Visit redcross.org/prepare to learn how.

DOWNLOAD EMERGENCY APP  Download the free Red Cross Emergency App to receive emergency alerts and information about what to do in case of flooding and other disasters, as well as locations of shelters. The App also includes emergency first aid information and a Family Safe feature which allows people to instantly see if loved ones are okay. The free Emergency App is available in app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps.

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 visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

About the American Red Cross in New Jersey 
The American Red Cross provides programs and services to a population of 8.8 million in New Jersey. The Red Cross trains and mobilizes more than 5,800 volunteers who support the delivery of services throughout the state. In New Jersey, last year, the Red Cross responded to 889 local disasters, mostly home fires, helping 1,820 displaced families; collected 88,439 units of blood through blood drives and Red Cross Blood Donation Centers; provided 3,920 military family case services with emergency messages, helping families find assistance and/or get counseling and referrals; and trained 117,088 individuals with life-saving skills in preparedness, CPR, AED use, first aid and aquatics. For more information, please visit redcross.org/NJ and follow us on Twitter @NJRedCross.