I'm leaving for Florida for Red Cross Disaster Relief

Not 20 minutes ago, I learned I was randomly-selected by Americorps to be shipped out on Red Cross Disaster Relief. I’ll fly out for Florida sometime in the next 24 hours. I’ll be staying a max of 3 weeks, maybe less.

Thank you for helping our Florida neighbors! Stay safe and keep us posted!

We appreciate you coming, **Mississippiene[b/]. Hopefully you won’t have a lot to do.

I hope you end up being very bored with nothing to do. Since that isn’t likely, I’m grateful for your service and please keep safe.

Slight change of plans: The Red Cross called and have switched me from Florida to Georgia. I’ll be flown to Atlanta sometime tomorow morning. This is huge for Americorps. We sent a couple of teams to Florida a few weeks back, but just today FEMA called and requested 1,000 Americorps members.

My 4th Round project in Kingston, NY has been cancelled, since my entire team is being deployed for Disaster Relief. Me and one other teammate are going with Red Cross, the other six are leaving with FEMA. Some of the Americorps staff were talking about cancelling all the 4th Round projects entirely and sending every person on base down South. Everyone’s hyped and terrified and excited. We’re all 18-24 years-old. I’m 19. Some of us seem so young for something so huge, but most everyone is ready to go.

You’re doing a good thing. Thanks!

I hope the disaster isn’t as bad as feared, but it looks like Uncle Sam is gettin’ ready for this one. Part of what I do is serve on a USDA natural disaster assistance team.

Got orders this afternoon. Be ready to go with:
Truck and horse trailer (check)
Two chain saws (check)
Portable generator (check)
Two coolers for ice (check)
Clothing and ID card for identification (check)
Fence repair tools and materials (check)
Dogs and horse to round up stray cattle (check)

Additional instructions:
Pick up one 19 year-old M’sipi girl in Atlanta. She’s supposed to clear the snakes and alligators off the paths and help bulldog stray cattle.

Hey, I was wonderin’ who that might be. We’ll meet at last!

OK, so everything below “additional instructions” is BS. I really do hope this storm isn’t as bad as the last one. If it takes a major effort, maybe we’ll run into each other somewhere down there. Disaster relief can make for a small world.

Good luck everybody!

Atlanta’s the staging area. There are enough people in SoFlo right now to staff the available shelters. Once people start going back home is when more volunteers will be needed, not only for shelters but also for feeding operations. Plus it’s kinda stupid to put disaster relief workers in the path of the storm. :wink:

If you run into a guy named John Schenk (Records and Reporting) tell him hi from Rachel and watch him fall over. grin

And just so the rest of you know…we are so short on volunteers that NHQ is putting out a call for “spontaneous volunteers” from other-than-Florida. Ring up your local chapter and there’s a decent possibility they’ll put you through a crash course in disaster ops and send you.

Thank you Mississippienne for your service to those in need. My MIL is in the direct path of the storm. I’m hoping she doesn’t need you but am grateful for all of you that are willing to take the time out of your life to help.

Me and 17 other Americorps members are leaving in precisely one hour for the airport. We’re going to Atlanta, then to Florida probably by Tuesday. The other Corps members are leaving with FEMA on Tuesday, except for a couple who don’t have medical clearance.

I’ve got my traveler’s cheques, my airplane itinerary, and a sexy ARC one-size-fits-all vest. I’m ready to go!

Having recently met Mississippienne while she was still in the Boston area, I have no doubt that she will be a huge help. She is one very impressive 19 year old!
Nice, funny, intelligent, strong and caring. Best of luck, Jess, and let me know where you end up after this! Sending prayers and good wishes your way.

And the same goes to any folks in the path of the storm, of course.

UPDATE: I’m writing from the Red Cross base in Tampa, Florida. We flew in yesterday from Atlanta and have been in-processing ever since. I’m to be placed on food distribution. Tampa looks to be in good shape for the moment, but Hurricane Ivan is on his way up. There’s hundreds of ARC folks coming in, along with FEMA.

I’m following you. I need to meet with the prof of my Monday night class, then probably flying out of here on Tuesday.

We appreciate you both. You have some funny rules, though…why did the Red Cross group in my home-town refuse the food that the local people/grocery stores donated and organized?

Individual Red Cross chapters do not, as a rule, take “in-kind” donations. We don’t have the manpower to deal with them, the space to store them, or the trucks to transport them. National has agreements and statements of understanding in place with many large companies for situations like hurricanes or massive flooding. National prefers it that way because we can “order” stuff - enough dried potatoes, milk, juice, water, pancake mix, bologna, whatever, for 5,000 people. This is much more efficient than sorting through a bunch of boxes donated by a local group. We appreciate the effort, but we just can’t use it. We don’t need “stuff”. We need live, trained bodies and money to help the live, trained bodies to do their jobs.

Hi gang,

Just wanted to let everyone know I’m safe and sound in Sarasorta. We arrived in Tampa first, then transferred to the ARC warehouse in Sarasota. We were supposed to evacuate to Orlando due to Hurricane Ivan, but now I think we’re going to wait out the storm here. After that, who knows. I’ve mostly been working in the warehouse loading and unloading supplies, but yesterday I got to deliver a shipment to a Red Cross in Tampa for distribution. Very fun.

Thanks for the explanation, chique. No explanation was given at the time, so it just managed to piss of the folks who’d done the work to gather the food. They took it down the road and set up to feed the linemen, or somebody, I think.

I’m home! Back in good ol’ Maryland. We worked at the ARC warehouse in Sarasota the whole time (apparently our efforts helped serve over 4 million meals). Some of our group opted to extend their stay and go to Montgomery with the Ivan relief. When my time was up, I chose to come home. I have my reasons. Just glad to be back on the ground, safe and sound.