A Special Look Inside a Red Cross Shelter

By: Melissa Fazzio, American Red Cross

Daniel Ray as he gets ready to travel down to Louisiana to help others. Photo credit: Daniel Ray

Daniel Ray, a philanthropy officer for the American Red Cross Connecticut and Rhode Island Region, recently returned from Louisiana where he volunteered for nearly two weeks in a Red Cross shelter open for those displaced by Hurricane Ida. Dan joined the Red Cross six months ago and this was his first time traveling to help respond to a national disaster. In Dan’s words, “This experience had a profound impact on my life.” Dan gave us an inside look at some of the unseen ways that Red Cross workers support people beyond sheltering and providing nourishing meals.

“We had some residents in our shelter with health challenges,” shared Dan. “We assisted diabetic residents with accessing and properly storing their insulin, coordinated rides to dialysis with local taxi companies and American Medical Response, delivered baby clothes to a new mother with a two-week-old son, and helped shelter residents document the necessary information to obtain refills for their prescription medications lost in the hurricane.” Veteran residents were cared for, volunteers helped shelter residents in getting internet access on Red Cross computers, and families were aided in applying for local assistance.

An Emergency Response Vehicle arrives at the American Red Cross headquarters in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on September 1, 2021. Photo credit: Scott Dalton, American Red Cross

When we asked Dan what his favorite memory was, he shared, “I helped get books for two people, a gentleman and a teenage resident who loved to read. We all bonded over our affinity for thriller novels.”

“They were beyond grateful for the services of the Red Cross. The phrases “thank you” and “God bless the Red Cross” were heard every day, said Dan. On behalf of the people we serve, we would also like to say thank you to our incredible donors and volunteers whose generosity towards our recent disaster relief efforts has enabled us to fulfill our humanitarian mission. Thank you to Amica Insurance, Henkel, Xerox and The XL Foundation.

This is a snapshot of just some of the work at one of many shelters in Louisiana. Over the past several months, the Red Cross along with partners across multiple states have provided over 61,000 total overnight stays in emergency shelters and lodgings. We ❤ our donors and volunteers, thank you! 

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