Hundreds of Red Cross workers are operating shelters and providing meals, relief supplies and health and mental health services in four southern states where thousands of people have been forced from their homes by floodwaters, many leaving with little but the clothes on their backs. More than 380 people spent Sunday, March 13, in 30 Red Cross and community shelters in Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Texas.
Volunteers like Ethel Payne of Monroe, Louisiana, help provide comfort for families staying at Red Cross shelters. Volunteers often come prepared with toys and activities for children at shelters, which helps make them feel safe during difficult times.
When Terina Smith, Michael Stevenson and their three small children were rescued from floodwaters in Monroe, Louisiana, they found safety at a Red Cross shelter. Volunteer Ethel Payne has helped provide comfort and lifted their spirits during their time at the shelter.
Clifton Winsor has lived by himself in his Rayville, Louisiana, home since his wife’s passing in 2013. At 87, he’s lived through a lot, but this is the first time his home has flooded. Now, he looks toward the future. “At my age, it’s hard enough to think about what happens next after something like this,” he says with tears in his eyes, “but facing it alone without my wife makes it even harder.”
The American Red Cross delivered water and snacks to neighborhoods affected by flooding in Rayville, Louisiana. For many residents, it was the first day they were able to get back into their homes to assess damage.
When Carroll Taylor saw the water rising in the backyard of her West Monroe, Louisiana, home, she knew she had to leave. When she came back the next night, she found about 6 inches of water had entered her living room. When the Red Cross came through her neighborhood, she had spent two days pulling carpeting out of her home, bleaching her walls and cleaning the concrete floor below. “I was mad that this happened to me at first, but then I realized I was lucky,” she says. “I didn’t get it as bad as others – and I won’t need as much as others – but I’m so grateful that the Red Cross is here to help those who will need it.”
You can help people affected by disasters, such as the current flooding and countless other crises, by making a donation to Red Cross Disaster Relief. You can donate by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. These donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. To learn more about the Red Cross relief effort across flood-affected areas, click here.
Photos by Daniel Cima. Captions by April Phillips.