While we still have a little time before the remnants of Ida make it to Connecticut, for Louisiana the clean-up is underway. It is going to be a long road to recovery for parts of Louisiana and the Gulf Coast that were absolutely devastated by Ida and a group of volunteers from Connecticut are already doing their part to help.
Nationwide, over 600 Red Cross volunteers have already responded to the call for help in the wake of Ida, and a dozen of them are from Connecticut. Local volunteers went to Louisiana last week ahead of powerful hurricane’s landfall.
“Their main focus has been getting supplies to the shelters and opening the shelters for our communities,” explains Jocelyn Hillard, the Regional Communications Director for the Connecticut and Rhode Island chapter of the Red Cross.
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Shelters that hundreds of Louisiana residents stayed in last night.
“A safe place to stay, food, water, health and mental health services,” said Hillard. “That's comfort and a place of safety during this difficult time.”
Of course amid the pandemic, the Red Cross has increased safety protocols, utilizing larger buildings for shelters, spacing cots farther apart, as well as enhancing cleaning efforts and performing health screenings.
Shelters and supplies for residents couldn’t be possible if not for the volunteer efforts of the Red Cross. And they're always seeking more help.
“We have trainings available, we have folks who go out throughout the year,” explained Hillard. “Hurricane season, wildfire season and flooding in the spring. So your help is needed today and your help is needed in the coming weeks as we continue to address these needs.”
Hillard recently returned from an emergency response herself, assisting with the wildfires in California.
“It is one of the most self-fulfilling things you can do. You’re helping others, you're being there during a time when there might be a lot of unknown,” said Hillard. “Our Red Cross volunteers in that area who would normally help out might be impacted themselves. So to be able to provide that little bit of relief is truly incredible.”
Another important reminder: storms like Ida often times lead to blood drives being canceled and there is still a critical need for blood donations. For more information on how you can help, visit their website.