Red Cross ready, willing to help

Imagine a fire destroying your home in the middle of the afternoon.

That’s exactly what happened to Kristen Alexander of Sterrett in late March. Fortunately, Alexander and William Phipps were able to escape unharmed, but their home suffered damage to the living and kitchen areas. The couple was able to stay with relatives and their clothing was salvageable, but they needed food.

Not far away, another Shelby County family’s mobile home was destroyed in a fire. The family of four had no place to stay and they needed clothing, infant formula and supplies.

Shelby County Red Cross ARCHIE (American Red Cross Helps In Emergencies) team members Sydney Rangeley and Shannon Turnbull responded to the scene of both fires, meeting the emergency needs of each family. For the Alexander family, the Red Cross provided food assistance for one week. For the family of four, we provided comfort kits which include hygiene items, stuffed animals and a hotel room, as well as assistance with clothing, infant formula and food.

Sydney and Shannon are just two of the members of the ARCHIE team backed up by thousands of volunteers. Most people know the Red Cross for its response to large disasters, but we must be ready for every disaster, regardless of its size.

Our local system includes:

-Emergency supplies (cots, blankets and water).

-An ARCHIE response van stocked with blankets, clothing, comfort kits, clean-up kits, water and snacks.

-Trained disaster volunteers ready to serve at a moment’s notice.

How do we ensure that we can care for individuals, families and communities when something unexpected happens?

Gifts to the Disaster Relief Fund allow us to provide assistance to victims of disaster. The Disaster Relief Fund gives hope. Contributions may be sent to the Shelby County Red Cross at 4524 Southlake Parkway, Suite 5, Hoover, AL 35244.

Mary Kinard is the executive director of the Shelby County chapter of the American Red Cross. She can be reached by e–mail at Mary.Kinard@redcrossal.org.