The Santa Monica chapter of the Red Cross is now caring for 42 people who have been evacuated from the disaster zones in both Mississippi and Louisiana.
According to chapter executive director, John Pacheco, “The Santa Monica chapter is offering a full range of services for those here from the disaster area. We are issuing debit cards that may be used for urgent purchases of food, clothing and other necessities. The chapter is also rendering general assistance, comfort, and referrals to those in town seeking help. Mental health and counseling services are also available.”
A computer has been set up in the chapter lobby to enable “displaced clients” to go online to search for missing or lost loved ones through the Family Links Registry link on the www.redcross.org website.
To date, the chapter has processed nearly 700 new volunteers. Most of the new sign-ups are completing the required orientation and course work required for assignment to the disaster area and a Red Cross service center or shelter.
As of Monday, 42 people – many of them Santa Monica residents – are on their way to work or are already working in disaster relief in one of 707 shelters in 24 states including the District of Columbia. Over the weekend, an additional 128 local volunteers completed training to work in the disaster area, bringing the total number of new volunteers to of 628 people who are signed up and trained to work in Hurricane Katrina relief since the disaster began less than two weeks ago.
The American Red Cross now has over 73,000 volunteers addressing the needs of tens of thousands of survivors. It plans to recruit 40,000 more volunteers to serve in disaster relief in the weeks and months to come – both here in Santa Monica and in disaster relief posts around the country. The American Red Cross is now housing over 207,000 evacuees in its shelters
As of Monday, Katrina disaster relief donations counted by the chapter totaled slightly over $400,000, $94,000 of which was was raised on the Santa Monica Pier over the Labor Day weekend in conjunction with 102.7 KIIS-FM.
Nationally, the American Red Cross has raised $602 million for Katrina disaster relief
The local Red Cross chapter and the City of Santa Monica are forming a coalition of service providers, nonprofit charitable organizations and churches that will, according to Pacheco, “Map out strategies of working together to insure that displaced persons who come here for aid and services get what they need in a timely and efficient manner.”
Displaced persons from the Hurricane Katrina disaster area are eligible for substantial aid in the form of financial support and services from a variety of resources including the Red Cross.
The Santa Monica chapter’s toll free Katrina disaster relief hotline at (866) 733-5010 is operational. The Hotline is a call-in center for information such as how and where to make monetary donations and how to volunteer locally or at a disaster relief service center where the Red Cross has set up shelters or service centers.
The Hotline can also be used to link up people who wish to make donations of clothing and other goods or services with individuals, charities or organizations who are looking to acquire and distribute clothing and goods or services to Hurricane Katrina victims.
A national, toll free, 24-hour emergency line has also been set up so that survivors of the disaster can call for financial assistance by dialing (800) 975-7585. Anyone looking for missing relatives or friends can call 877-LOVED-1S for the Family Links Registry.Go online at www.redcrossofsantamonica.org. Donate online at the national American Red Cross’s website at www.redcross.org. Or, Call 1-800-HELP-NOW. In Spanish: www.cruzrojaamericana.org.