Three Cheers for Paul!

So, the other day, this young man named Paul van Vliet stops by Red Cross offices in Minneapolis and drops off comfort kits for kids. How cool is that? He (Paul) comes up with his own project idea (making comfort kits for kids) and provides them (the kits) to us (Red Cross) so that our disaster relief workers can give the kits to kids affected by disasters (like fires, floods, & tornadoes).

Now, let’s give some credit to us (Red Cross) because we came up with the original comfort kits for adults and children idea, but we rely on motivated and generous peeps like Paul to make this kits and help reduce the suffering of people who escape burning buildings or high waters. Paul’s dad John was on hand for the comfort kits for kids drop off. He took a fine photo of his son Paul (top & bottom) and then sent us a nice note (excerpt below left).

“It was great to meet you at the Twin Cities’ Red Cross office today. Thanks for your interest in my son, Paul’s, Eagle Scout project. It was a wonderful surprise and honor to meet Phil Hansen, an Eagle Scout himself. I know Paul was very impressed and honored by Mr. Hanson’s enthusiastic reaction to his project. And I am sure Paul will remember this day for the rest of his life. Most important, he and I are gratified to know these comfort kits will benefit the littlest and most vulnerable victims of disasters.”

Well, John, we think your son is the bee’s knees. We could not do what we do without him and others like him. We wish Paul many happy days during his next adventure (college) and hope that he will make his way around the world and back to us some time in the future.

Every Donation Counts

Ruby Born, 6, held a lemonade stand and raised money for Red Cross disaster relief. Photo credit: Nancy Rogers/American Red Cross

When Ruby Born, 6, came to the Red Cross office in Duluth, Minnesota, after the flash flooding, she had a sparkly yellow skirt, a beautiful smile, and a plastic bag filled with cash for the American Red Cross disaster relief operation helping affected families. “We sold lemonade,” she told the Red Cross.

Ruby held a two-day lemonade stand in her Superior, Wisconsin, neighborhood (just across a bridge from Duluth), selling an estimated 60 cups of lemonade.  Her parents Jeanne and Hector matched Ruby’s $150 in sales. And Enbridge Energy in Superior matched their combined gift for a total contribution of $600.00.

Red Cross disaster relief workers distribute clean up supplies in flood damaged Willow River, MN. Photo credit: Judy Hanne-Gonzalez/American Red Cross

The Red Cross continues to respond to flash flooding that resulted after a storm dumped more than 9 inches of rain across northeastern Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin, causing widespread damage and displacing hundreds of people. The Red Cross supported around 200 people in shelters.  Red Cross disaster relief workers conducted damage assessment across several counties in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Other Red Cross workers are still on the ground distributing water, food, and cleaning supplies to people in the most impacted areas.

Asked why she raised the money, Ruby’s mom said the family talked together about the flood and discussed ways to help.  Ruby said, “I want to give the money to the Red Cross.”

Red Cross disaster relief workers provide food from mobile trucks, Fond du Lac, Minnesota. Photo credit: Judy Hanne-Gonzalez/American Red Cross.

Thank you Ruby, and to everyone, for supporting the American Red Cross and helping fulfill our mission to reduce human suffering in the face of emergencies.

Every dollar counts, including those made from selling lemonade. If you would like to help people affected by the Northland flooding and other disasters here and around the world, you can make a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief by visiting 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 37423, Washington, DC 20013.

A couple portraits from the flooding disaster

You’ve heard the news or seen the images of the dramatic and traumatic events that continue to unfold in northeast Minnesota. We want you to know that the Red Cross is going full force–ramping up each moment–to help the people who are affected by this disaster. Last night we supported 185 people in shelters across the region. We offer, here, a couple portraits of people who are affected by this disaster.

Portraits and Photos from Judy Hanne-Gonzalez, Executive Director, American Red Cross Northland and North Star Chapters.

Michael Ray Marchand

When Michael Ray Marchand looked out his trailer door early morning on June 20, he could not believe his eyes. The twice-homeless veteran, who lost his leg and wears a vibrantly-colored prosthesis in a design based on the American Flag, saw pouring rain, downed power lines, and a home teetering as the soil beneath it washed away. Marchand was evacuated by his landlords and called 911 for help.  He was rescued by a fire truck and taken with sirens blaring to the Red Cross shelter at the First United Methodist Church (aka Coppertop church) in Duluth.  “Red Cross has given me food and a place to stay,” Marchand says. “I can’t believe it. This is the third time I’ve been homeless.”

 

 

Charles, Koda, Michelle, and Jayden

Michelle Henry, Charles Goggleye, and their children Koda Duane, five years old, and Jayden, two years, were staying with a sister in the Fond du Lac neighborhood when they were evacuated mid-morning on Wednesday by police as flood waters quickly rose. They escaped in their car, but it quickly broke down leaving them stranded again. They called Charles’ mother only to find that his brother and five children had also been evacuated and were staying there. So they found transportation to the Copper Top Church, where Red Cross workers were providing food, blankets, and a warm dry place to stay.  Red Cross volunteers entertained the children with movies. “We love the Red Cross,” says Koda. “They’re really nice!” Jayden and Koda loved the Red Cross comfort kits they were given, which included crayons, coloring books and toothbrushes.  The kids rushed to open the new toothbrushes and practiced brushing their teeth.

The Red Cross will soon begin mobile feeding as impacted areas become accessible; damage assessment volunteers are gathering and will deploy within 24 hours. Perhaps you’re already helping in some way, but if you’re wondering about HOW YOU CAN HELP, you can make a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. This gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for and provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance in response to this and other disasters here and abroad. Visit www.redcross.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS. Contributions may also be sent to local American Red Cross chapters or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.

Meet one of our 2012 Heroes

Elizabeth Estepp, of Ham Lake, Minnesota, is a 2012 American Red Cross Heroes Awards recipient.

One Sunday morning in Ham Lake, Minnesota, Elizabeth Estepp was at church when her pastor challenged everyone.  “He asked us to ask ourselves, if our church disappeared would the community even miss us.” Estepp and some others realized that the answer was no.  To change this, they decided to focus community outreach on bringing clothing to people. But how? Estepp slept, thought, and prayed until an idea formed. “I told my husband, we have a trailer full of junk parked outside. Let’s clean it out.” That was more than two years ago. Since then Friend2Friend, a mobile clothing ministry, has put hundreds of pounds of wear-able used clothing into the hands of people who can’t afford to buy their own.

Friend2Friend, a mobile clothing ministry based in Ham Lake, Minnesota, reaches hundreds of people across the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area.

For us, Estepp is a hero, helping to provide for people in the face of emergencies. For example, last year on May 22, Friend2Friend responded to the Minneapolis tornado, bringing clothing, toiletries, and water to people who were forced to flee their homes with little or nothing. During regular, non-disaster hours, volunteers are gathering, sorting, and hanging the clothes on racks that will later be transported to twenty church locations across the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area. On some nights, says Estepp, more than one hundred people show up. In no time, the racks are empty and ready for new donations. “We have seen so many people struggling for the first time in their lives.” Sometimes, she says, people have found clothes to use for job interviews. “They get jobs and then come back to help.”

Pants on a mobile clothing rack hang from the upper left side, making it easy for people to find a fit.

Watching volunteers prepare donated clothing items for distribution serves as a reminder that helping others takes time and effort. Simply, it’s work. And Estepp recognizes this. “If we didn’t see the definite impact we wouldn’t be able to keep it going.” The impact extends from a homeless person needing a jacket to a widower finally feeling good enough about emptying his deceased wife’s closet. Or to a volunteer feeling worth-less until putting his trailer-pulling skills to work for a worth-full cause. Or to Estepp listening to a question and finding an answer because “this is what energizes me.” She’s making plans too: getting Friend2Friend’s food pantry on wheels.

Estepp and the other 2012 Heroes will be honored at the annual American Red Cross Heroes Breakfast on Thursday, May 24, at Target Field in Minneapolis. The public is invited to attend, help recognize local heroes, and support their local American Red Cross. Tickets and table sponsorships are available online at redcrossmn.org.

Story and photos by Lynette Nyman/American Red Cross

Generosity Abounds in Minnesota

Red Cross responder Carrie Carlson-Guest helped promote Give to the Max Day at a giveMN.org event.

We’re not surprised by your generosity even though others around the country might be. Minnesotans have long been givers–of time, wisdom, and money. This was no exception during the 2011 Give to the Max Day.

The American Red Cross in Minnesota ranked 35 out of nearly 4000 and made the Top 100 leader board. YOU donated more than $35,000 to support our mission to provide humanitarian relief during disaster and to help people prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies.

And so we extend our appreciation most heartily during this season of giving thanks. We can also say without a doubt that the beneficiaries of your generosity are incredibly grateful as well.

If you missed Give to the Max Day, you can still share with others. Check out our 2011 Holiday Giving Catalog.

One for the money, two for the show

Three to get ready, now go cat go! His shoes weren’t blue or suede, but we were delighted to have Elvis on hand for the 2011 Run for Blood Quarter Marathon & 5K.

Elvis kicked of this year's Run for Blood, helping support the Red Cross. Photo credit: William Kahn/American Red Cross

More than 460 people raced around Lake Harriet in Minneapolis, helping to raise more than $10K for the Red Cross and its humanitarian mission to help people prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies.

Thank you to Mr. Luther Hagen, event founder and all around booster for the Red Cross, and to everyone who helped make this event a great success.

Congratulations!

All hands unload at the Red Cross

 

The Red Cross relies on multiple generous hands during disaster response. Behind the scenes hands include the folks who locate water and food donations, the people who are around to help unload the relief supplies when they arrive, and the person who grabs a camera running after those who are doing the heavy lifting, literally. xoxo, redcrosstc

Pallets upon pallets of donated water, juice, and snacks arrive Friday afternoon at the Red Cross in Minneapolis. These items are to feed hundreds of people who will be sand bagging on Saturday as part of flood mitigation. Photo credit: Lynette Nyman/American Red Cross

 

Red Cross workers unload snacks that sand baggers will be grateful to have. Photo credit: Lynette Nyman/American Red Cross
11 pallets, 10868 pounds. They're getting a work out! Photo credit: Lynette Nyman/American Red Cross
Even the best of the best lends a hand to the off load. Photo credit: Lynette Nyman/American Red Cross
Thank you, Target, for your donation. Photo credit: Lynette Nyman/American Red Cross