Oroville Scouts Ready to Help Despite Camp Fire Anxieties

Boy Scouts from Troop 29 in Oroville arrived at the Oroville Red Cross shelter Saturday ready to pitch in wherever they could help. The enthusiastic scouts moved supplies to storage areas, sorted donations, picked up litter, even occasionally handled babysitting dogs for people at the shelter.

Drew, one of the scouts, said his home is safe, but others in his troop were not so lucky. One family is unsure of the status of its home and some others are in areas at risk. Drew said that he felt good that all of the people at the shelter were getting the help they needed.

Kullen, another scout from Troop 29, said he had spent many restless nights unsure of where the fire would go. He had worked with his family to pack up all their important and precious processions, just in case. But still he worried that they would not have enough room in their two cars for everything they needed.

Though Kullen had his own worries, he was also very concerned about the people he encountered at the shelter. He overheard conversations. “They could not stop talking about the fire. It was very heartbreaking,” he said.

The Red Cross appreciates the assistance and hard work of Oroville Boy Scout Troop 29 and all of the organizations that support the Red Cross.

If you would like to donate to the American Red Cross California Wildfire Relief effort, go to redcross.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS.

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Local Collection Drive to Bring a Smile to Our Military

Author: Randi Benton, Red Cross Public Affairs Volunteer

Screeeech”! No, not the guy from Saved By The Bell, this is the sound of care packages being sealed and ready to ship to the troops after being filled with the countless items and supplies donated by the community in Northern California. Care packages? Donations? What’s the occasion, you ask? Well, of course that would be the third annual Operation Care Package – a joint effort between the American Red Cross Gold Country Region and KCRA/ KQCA to collect care package items, goods and supplies for our military, local and abroad.

Image-1-5“Care packages provide a touch of home and an opportunity to say “thank you” to the brave men and women of our Armed Forces for their service and sacrifice,” said Tobrin Hewitt, Services to the Armed Forces Manager for the American Red Cross Gold Country Region.

Operation Care Package was underway from dawn ‘til dusk on Friday, June 10, 2016, receiving in a cornucopia of donations from hygiene products to books and snacks.. But, prior to the start of the event, at precisely 4 A.M. volunteers swarmed the empty car lot in front of the Toyota dealership at the Roseville Automall, a little bit like a hoard of sleep-deprived zombies but nonetheless ready and willing to set up the tents and have everything arranged for the day ahead.

Armed with some coffee, Red Cross and partner volunteers were fast at work when the first donations began to pour in. One lane was blocked off for drivers to pull up and unload their donations, and believe me when I say it was busier than an In ‘N Out drive thru on a Saturday night! In between the colossal amount of cars driving by to drop of various items and supplies for donation, Sutter Health drove in with a truck load full of hundreds of items and even the local chapter of the Girl Scout who donated 5,000 boxes of Girl Scout cookies.

photoThis year’s Operation Care Package consisted of volunteers from the Red Cross, Blue Star Moms, Move America Forward, Retired Veterans, Current Servicemen and many more. Even a Cheer Squad from Oakmont High School took time out of their summer to help out with the event and cheer the drivers as they were driving by with their donations. Even more surprising, little kids were getting in on the action helping out their parents and excited to give back, or in this case sort out the items being received.

“Volunteers not only worked effortlessly to make this event a success, but they also made sure to look after one another,” said Robin DeCristofano from the Blue Star Moms. “Some of them were passing out icy cold strips to others to stay cool, handing out snacks, and ensuring everyone had a cold water bottle to stay hydrated. Overall, everyone was in jovial spirits.”

Throughout the course of the day, despite the mild heat and busy atmosphere, everyone was determined to make this day another proverbial win for the books. And I dare say it was! We were able to collect approximately 12,000 individual items which will help us put together more than 5500 care packages for military members deployed in Honduras serving in Joint Task Force-Bravo, Blue Star Moms, Marine Families, Yolo military families as well as Move America Forward and Corporal Palmer Foundation will receive items to send to service members.

As always, this event would not have been possible without the partnership and support from KCRA/KQCA, the Roseville Automall, Aerojet Rocketdyne, Sutter Health, and Safe Credit Union.

Check out more the pictures from the event here.

 

A Trip to IKEA, But Not to Shop: IKEA Donates 100 Comfort Kits

By Marlene Stamper, Public Affairs Volunteer, Photos by Bob Eger    A few days ago I went to the IKEA store in West Sacramento. For me, a trip to IKEA is usually about new throw pillows or maybe something to brighten up the kitchen or patio. But this trip was different. It was not about shopping or buying stuff, it was special. Why? Because I got to spend time with some great IKEA folks who were packing up 100 bright blue shopping bags with cool stuff to donate to the American Red Cross.

When I got to the conference room where the IKEA team was working (although they seemed to be having too much fun to call it “work”) they had already organized a colorful assembly line of towels, washcloths, sheet sets, pillows, and teddy bears. They were busily packing everything into shopping bags ready for giving. We call these bags “comfort kits.” It didn’t take long for these energetic workers to complete the job of assembling 100 comfort kits.

Once the kits were packed, the team put everything into carts and then we all headed down to the parking lot for the final step—loading up the Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicle (ERV). What an enthusiastic and energetic team! And what a pleasure for me to spend a little time with them!

Thanks to these folks and everyone at IKEA, people in emergency situations will receive the comfort of new fresh bedding, pillows, and towels. Maybe this sounds a bit humdrum to you, but imagine if you were trying to rebuild your life after a fire, you might feel a little different. In fact, a Red Crosser told me when she delivered comfort kits to victims of last summer’s Butte Fire, they reacted as if she’d given them “a pot of gold.” But, it’s not just recipients of the comfort kits who benefit. I spoke to several members of the IKEA team who put together the kits. They were proud to work for IKEA because IKEA is committed to helping the community. Angel R. told me that it makes him happy to work for IKEA due to their support for this great cause. Well, Angel, what IKEA and people like you do makes a lot of people happy, including me. Thanks, again to you and everyone at IKEA!

Here’s the official scoop on the five-year partnership between the American Red Cross and IKEA:

IKEA has generously committed to a national in-kind donation of 4,300 “IKEA Care Packages” nationwide for Red Cross disaster clients. Annually they have committed to provide 100 packages per IKEA location across the United States (currently 41 IKEA stores and 2 IKEA Offices) to 31 American Red Cross Regional offices.

The care packages include the following items:

  • 1- 4 pack washcloths
  • 1-bath towel
  • 2-standard pillow cases
  • 2-pillows
  • 1-queen flat sheet
  • 1-queen fitted sheet
  • 1-optional plush toy
  • 1-large blue plastic bag —shopping bag that contains all of the items.

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Also, IKEA comes through when times get tough. Michelle LaPierre Bell, Executive Director, Northeastern California Chapter told me that IKEA donated an additional 400 each of towels, washcloths, and lap blankets for victims of last summer’s fires here in California. Currently, we are in year two of our five-year partnership with IKEA. And, as Michelle said, “IKEA is a great partner and we look forward to many more years of partnering with them.”

 

Bringing the Comfort of Warm Blankets to Our Vets in Redding

By Marlene Stamper, Public Affairs Volunteer

Isn’t it great to curl up with a warm blanket on the couch and watch your favorite TV show? Or what about that feeling you get when you wrap your child in their special blanket? Blankets bring us warmth, comfort, and even a feeling of security for some of us. Case in point: Charlie Brown’s best friend, Linus and his oh-so-important security blanket. No matter who you are, young or old, big or small, I bet you appreciate the comfort of a warm blanket. I know I do. So, that’s why it was a great pleasure and honor for me to ride along with two of my Red Cross friends, Lilly Wyatt (Director, Regional Communications and Marketing) and Tobrin Hewitt (Regional Services to the Armed Forces Manager) to deliver nearly 150 blankets to the Veterans Home of California in Redding. The Home is a 155-bed, long-term care facility for California Veterans.

When we dropped off the blankets, we had the opportunity to say hello to a few of our veterans. They were happy and appreciative to receive our unexpected gifts. And, I like to think when our vets use the blankets they’ll be reminded that their service to our country is greatly appreciated, today and every day.

The First U.S. Community Credit Union provided the blankets. The credit union partnered with the American Red Cross to sponsor a blanket drive that resulted in generous donations from their employees and members. This is just one of many examples of the community showing their support for California veterans.

The American Red Cross has a comprehensive program to support our veterans called the Services to the Armed Forces program. Tobrin manages this program and he said, “Providing blankets for a little extra comfort to our vets in just one aspect of our program.” The Services to the Armed Forces program also provides so much more to military members and their families, such as:

  • Emergency communication services by connecting military members with their families back home when an emergency strikes.
  •  Emergency financial assistance by partnering with military aid societies to help military members and their families get assistance 24/7.
  •  Information and referral services for counseling, guidance, and other social services.
  •  Deployment services such as training, information, and support before, during, and after deployments.

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Donor Spotlight – McDonald’s Mother Lode Bringing out the pies to help families of the Butte Fire.

 

It has been a little over five months since the Butte Fire ravaged through the hills and neighborhoods of Calaveras and Amador counties. While those communities continue their recovery process, community members and businesses like McDonalds in the Mother Lode are still gathering the donations they received from their customers.

When the fire erupted that September 9 last year, Dennis Graspointner, McDonald’s owner/operator of the store in the Mother Lode called his local Red Cross to offer support.

He gathered his team of employees and his supervisor Ron Richards to come up with a unique fundraiser to assist those affected by the wildfire.

ButteFire_McDonalds
Mc Donald’s Mother Lode Team – Owner/operator Dennis Graspointer is in the middle and supervisor Ron Richards is to the far right. 

They thought…  “What is America’s favorite thing?” The All American Apple Pie, of course! Therefore, they kicked off a campaign where all proceeds from the purchase of pies would benefit the fire victims of the California Wildfires.

As soon as the campaign began, it was a hit in the community.

“Customers came by just for the pies, to help their friends and neighbors who had been evacuated,” says Dennis Graspointer.

Five months later, Liza Cruz, one of our major gift officers went by the store to say hello and to find out how the drive was going. “When I arrived the employees were so happy to have Red Cross there,” smiles Liza. “I was honored to be with such compassionate people.”

The pie sales raised more than $6000 dollars!

“McDonald’s is proud to be able to help, we benefited from the generosity of the customers, and they bought large quantities of pies, so thank you!” exclaimed Dennis.

The American Red Cross was able to help residents in Amador and Calaveras affected by the Butte Fire. Thanks to your generous support, we were able to:

  • Open 5 shelters providing over 1,750 overnight stays;
  • Serve more than 33, 000 meals and snacks;
  • Hand out 23,500 relief items, like comfort kits and clean up kits containing shovels, gloves and more;
  • And open 430 cases to provide one-on-one support to residents.

But, that’s not all; we continue to be in Calaveras and Amador counties to offer assistance to those affected by the fire with the recovery team “Calaveras Recovers.”

 

Red Cross Responded to 176 Large U.S. Disasters in 2015

At home and around the world, the Red Cross reached out to help those in need.

Friday, December 18, 2015 (Sacramento, CA) — In an unusually busy year, the American Red Cross helped hundreds of thousands of people impacted by disasters in 2015, both here at home and around the globe. Red Cross disaster workers responded to 176 large U.S. disasters – more than each of the past three years.

The cost of just the four largest of these disasters is more than $30 million – this includes flooding in Texas and South Carolina, wildfires in California and Typhoon Soudelor, which battered the island of Saipan in August; (Saipan is part of the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in the Pacific).

Here in the Gold Country Region, the Red Cross launched relief operations after more than eleven major wildfires stuck our region including the Hayfork Complex fires, the Wragg fire, Rocky fire, Lowell fire and of course the Butte and Valley fires which are considered the top ten most destructive wildfires in state’s history. Volunteers from across the country deployed to the area and helped to provide emergency essentials such as food, shelter, health services and emotional support for hundreds of people who lost everything.

“These disaster affected many people’s lives here in the Gold Country Region,” said Robin Friedman, Regional Disaster Manager. “Red Cross workers from both here at home and across the country worked tirelessly to make sure people had a safe place to stay, food to eat, and help planning their next steps.”

131003-Year-End-Graphics_1024x512_FINAL-USAcross the country, the Red Cross provided more than 34,000 overnight shelter stays to people forced from their homes because of disasters, served more than 1.1 million meals and snacks and distributed more than 800,000 relief items this year (as of December 8). Red Cross caseworkers provided recovery support to more than 19,000 households, and health and mental health workers provided more than 65,000 consultations after disasters.

As part of the world’s largest humanitarian network, the American Red Cross also worked alongside other Red Cross and Red Crescent societies to support families in Nepal after the devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake there in April. Across the world, the Red Cross continues  to address the needs of displaced families from Burundi, people facing food insecurity in Senegal, and is assisting with the ongoing migration crisis in Europe.

Flooding, Wildfires Devastated Communities Across U.S.

In May and June, the Red Cross responded across multiple states to help people impacted by flooding and wildfires. Residents of Texas, Alaska, California, Arizona, Indiana, Ohio, Oklahoma and Illinois turned to the Red Cross for help. In July and August, the Red Cross responded as raging wildfires burned out of control in Washington and California. In September, Red Cross workers helped after several massive fires in California destroyed hundreds of homes, forcing thousands of people to evacuate. As the Red Cross continued to assist people in California, catastrophic flooding hit South Carolina in early October and again, hundreds of Red Cross disaster workers responded. Then in early November, Texas was hit by a second round of relentless storms and floods just months after flash flooding wreaked havoc on much of the state in May. The Red Cross opened numerous shelters, provided food, health and mental health services and helped people plan their next steps.

Home Fires Continued to be Largest U.S. Disaster Threat

Amidst all of these devastating events, home fires continued to be the largest disaster threat in the United States. During 2015, the Red Cross provided casework assistance to help 214,000 people whose lives were affected by a home fire. The Red Cross also helped prevent home fires and related injuries and deaths by working with thousands of local partners across the country to install 195,000 smoke alarms and teach 268,000 youth about fire safety.

Here in the Gold Country Region, the Red Cross responded to 439 home fires, and installed 1,684 smoke alarms with the help of community partners.

131003-Year-End-Graphics_1024x512_FINAL-GLOBALNepal Earthquake and Migration Crisis
In late April, a devastating earthquake hit Nepal, causing significant destruction and loss of life. Working with Red Cross and Red Crescent societies from 33 countries, the American Red Cross helped provide 4.6 million liters of clean water and 70,000 cash grants to support 350,000 people. Cash grants empower families to buy the items they deem most urgent in their time of greatest need.

Currently, families are searching for safety across the Middle East and Europe and the global Red Cross network is providing vital humanitarian assistance to those in need. More than 49,000 Red Cross volunteers are helping tens of thousands of migrants and refugees in 28 countries throughout Europe, providing help such as food, water, healthcare, hygiene kits, baby supplies, clothing and first aid kits.. The American Red Cross deployed eight disaster specialists to support the effort, along with 10,000 cots to help families in Germany.

HOW YOU CAN HELP The Red Cross depends on the generous support of the American public to assist people affected by disasters. If you would like to help, please consider making a donation today by visiting http://www.redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to your local Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.

2nd Anniversary of Typhoon Haiyan – The Red Cross Response

Two years after Typhoon Haiyan made landfall in the Philippines, families are rebuilding their lives, livelihoods, and communities thanks, in part, to generous donations to the American Red Cross.

By addressing a wide range of communities’ needs, we were able to help them recover in a way that is sustainable in the long-term, such as investing in water and sanitation, school repair, and small businesses.

Here in the Gold Country Region we were able to raise $1.055M in a day-long telethon that aired on KCRA3, which always shows how great and giving our community is. That was just what was raised locally; but overall, the American Red Cross received $88 million for Haiyan’s relief and recovery efforts. As of September 30, 2015, 98% of these funds have been spent or committed.

Donors would be proud to see what their donations have accomplished in typhoon-affected communities:  beyond lifesaving supplies in the storm’s immediate aftermath, donors would see repaired schools, sturdier homes, healthier water infrastructure, new business, and neighborhoods that are better prepared for future disasters.

Besides raising funds, our board members, volunteers and staff were able to do a lot of outreach with Asian Pacific Islander community groups in our region by providing information and helping them connect with family members that were still in the Philippines. Additionally, our volunteer Kathy Pascoe was helping with the relief efforts remotely by providing Client Case Work support.

This was one of the strongest storms ever recorded and it damaged more than one million homes, so the American Red Cross is helping people repair and rebuild homes made of materials that are more able to withstand strong winds, heavy rain, and flooding.

With American Red Cross support, 10,000 families are now living in safer shelter. This includes more than 3,200 families who are now living in new homes and more than 6,600 who received cash, materials, and technical support to reconstruct their houses to better withstand future disasters.

The Red Cross moved quickly to address people’s immediate needs after the typhoon. After two years, we are still in the Philippines, ensuring that families’ recovery is sustainable and helping people prepare for future disasters that may come their way.

For more information on this relief effort, pictures and video click here.