The following post is from Pam, a Columbus disaster volunteer who has been volunteering with Red Cross disaster relief teams in the south for nearly three weeks now. Pam is on an Emergency Response Vehicle Team, transporting meals and clean-up supplies to people in neighborhoods where homes have been destroyed by the recent storms.
Another day about to begin…..I am back in Birmingham at kitchen 1 where I started deployment. The routes are winding down. Folks are departing for home and we are now taking over additional routes from other volunteers. I am on an Emergency Response Vehicle (ERV) out of Orlando, FL. It is a smaller ERV, one of only two in the country. I am still looking for our ERV from Columbus. I think “she” is in Tuscaloosa. Although, it looks like I may end up there later today. I will give her a hug and a pat on the bumper.
Jim and I were able to connect and did manage to spend part of the day ‘working” together. He likes his courier job and is having fun doing it. His days are long with all the airport pick up’s he has to make. Saturday my route took us to Concord, Al. It was one of the areas hardest hit. The clean up is starting and volunteers are helping by the hundreds. They are all wearing red shirts and picking through the rubble piece by piece, one lot at a time in groups of 15 – 20 volunteers. They look like ants on an ant hill working. They are piling things up one brick at a time. There are lots of trees and branches in the way so it is quite a job.
It is interesting some of the personal items they are finding and putting into piles (children’s shoes, trophies etc.) The last thing they do is take a shovel and clear the dirt off the concrete. The houses are just like you see on TV but you are closer and it tends to be overwhelming because of the size of the disaster. Most of the churches are busy helping their neighbors with food and clothes too. Everywhere we go people stop us and thank us for coming to help. The folks in this area are so welcoming and grateful.
Nearly 30 local volunteers have been deployed to the south to help with Red Cross relief efforts. Support their work and help the thousands still sleeping in Red Cross shelters by making a donation to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund here.