Local American Red Cross helps with disaster relief

“The devastation is really a hole in the stomach,” said Mimi Teller, an American Red Cross communications volunteer from Southern California. “What people are going to have to dig up and it’s not just their homes, it’s also the businesses. People have to realize that. »

Mimi Teller has been a volunteer with the American Red Cross for seven years.

She’s been deployed multiple times for hurricanes, wildfires and everything in between.

For her, seeing what’s left after Hurricane Ian swept through Florida takes her back to four years ago, during another devastating storm: Hurricane Michael.

“I can really understand and visualize what’s going on right now,” Teller explained. “From what I’ve seen, this looks like every horrible hurricane. Along the coast there is the storm surge, so the houses are mixed up, the boats are mixed up, everything overlaps. There are splinters of wood everywhere and people’s belongings everywhere.

For Teller, you can rebuild, but it’s the stories that come out of these tragedies that hit the hardest.

“You see people coming home and they’re going through what’s left of their lives,” she continued. “You tell them about their stories and you hope they’re all out.”

But the Red Cross is there to help you.

“We provided immediate assistance which was shelter, food, showers, we had power from what I heard, for the most part. Now that people are going home, we are able to scale down the operation somewhat, but we are still going to have a large population in our shelters for a while,” Teller said.

But you don’t have to be a Red Cross volunteer to have an impact.

“As the days and weeks pass, we identify people’s needs and that’s where the donations come in droves,” Teller explained. “What’s so useful about cash donations is that we can distribute them immediately. This way people are empowered to make their own decisions about how they recover and what they need to recover.

But, there is more than one option for people who want to help.

“If you don’t have the money and you don’t have time to donate, take 45 minutes and donate blood. It would be huge,” she said.

Make a difference for those who have lost everything.

“The generosity of donors makes this possible,” Teller explained. “We couldn’t do any of this if we didn’t have the support of donations.”

To donate, text the word “IAN” to 90999 or call 1-800-RED CROSS.

For more information, click here.

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