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View Diary: URGENT FROM BOGALUSA...PEOPLE ARE F**KING DYING (254 comments)

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  •  no...different focus (none)
    the Salvation Army actually collects items for distribution.  The Red Cross doesn't--they deal with "mass care", caring for people at shelters.

    From their website:

    Why won't the Red Cross accept small, individual donations or collections of items such as clothing, food or cleaning supplies-doesn't every little bit help?

    The Red Cross does not accept individual donations of material items (called "in-kind" donations) because receipt of such items can actually hamper relief efforts. The financial and personnel cost of receiving, sorting, transporting goods and ensuring the quality and cleanliness of items donated by individual households is very high. It does not allow for individuals and families to receive what they uniquely need in their own size and shape.

    The traditional method of providing Red Cross assistance is with a voucher, redeemable at local stores and paid for with donation dollars, that enables victims to purchase what they need in the correct sizes and in accordance with their own taste. Making even these small decisions helps individuals begin to take control of their lives and their recovery. In addition, this process helps channel money into the local economy and thus aids the community in recovery from disaster. The Red Cross does accept large corporate donations of food, bottled water and other items needed by the disaster-affected communities.

    Allison--which Red Cross chapter accepted items, and then spent limited resources to store them in a warehouse?  Generally the storage space they have is used to house people, not donated goods.  I'd like to look into this further if you can tell me where this happened.  

    •  Here in the Florida Panhandle (none)
      We have a few shelters set up by the Red Cross in churches and VFW halls. The Red Cross had ads on the local radio stations and articles in the local paper requesting donations of goods for these shelters, such as new blankets, toothbrushes and toothpaste, soap, and shampoo.

      They've been storing the surplus donated items in semi trailers in the parking lots. The largest shelter in my town, in which the Red Cross is caring for about 400 evacuees, now has three semis filled with goods in its parking lot. Recently, they asked that people please stop donating goods, as they're running out of room to store it.

      I was surprised that the Red Cross asked for this stuff, wondering what they're doing with all the money I and others have donated if they're not providing these kinds of things.

    •  Vouchers (none)
      Meant to comment on this too. I recently took a bag of clothing to the local Goodwill, where the lady told me to take it over to the larger Red Cross shelter instead. She said they're giving people vouchers for clothing at Goodwill, but they're only allowing them two items of clothing--just two items!--per person. She was concerned that these people had only the clothes on their backs and now were only being provided with basically one change of clothing (shirt and pants, or whatever, constitutes two items). So she told me that if I took the clothes directly there, the people could take more of them.

      At the church, the Red Cross people running the shelter said they didn't have much room to store or manpower to sort used clothes, but they did have several bags of them up on the stage of the auditorium housing the people. And since I mostly had shorts and summer tops, she told me to go ahead and leave them, and the evacuees could browse through them.

      Seems like this voucher system isn't doing people a heck of a lot of good, if they're only allowing two items of clothing per person.

      •  actually in training they distingush between (none)
        the immediate items provided (in the first day or so)--which would include an initial change of clothing, hygiene items, etc. and longer term relief.

        For long term, the last I heard, it was going to be a debit card with a certain amount of cash per family member.  It can be used to buy clothing and other needed supplies.  At the time the evacuee is able to move out of the shelter into an apartment or house, he may be given more to buy household items like sheets and towels.  

        It sounds like from what you say that each shelter may have different procedures and needs...I suppose if the storage space is available at the local site then they'll (hopefully) make good use of it.

        Just found out that I won't actually be at a shelter in Montgomery, but moved around as new shelters are opened and closed in MS and LA.  If I get the chance to get online I'll comment more about what is actually provided.    

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