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Postcards from South Carolina

In early October historic rains battered South Carolina. Flood waters tore through communities, leaving devastation in their wake and South Carolinians facing a long and uncertain path to recovery.

Since the dawn of this disaster more than 800 Red Cross workers from impacted communities and across the country have joined in the effort to deliver comfort and relief to the flood-ravaged state. While the road to recovery may be challenging, heartwarming stories of hope are all around.

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Red Cross Disaster Case Workers Carrie Smith and Beverly Scott chat with Ladson, SC resident Timothy Jenner about flood damage to his home.

“The first I knew was from a knock on the door and a National Guardsman telling me I had 15 minutes to get out. When I waded out the water was up to my waist,” said Jenner. His home uninhabitable, the Red Cross provided Jenner with financial resources for his clothing and food needs.

Photo by: Robert W. Wallace/American Red Cross

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Jennifer Briggs has been a Red Cross volunteer since 2005. When it comes to disaster responses, it would seem she’s done it all. “I do feeding, I do sheltering, I do client casework, I’ve done damage assessment – I’m versed in most areas of the Red Cross,” she explains.

But here in Columbia, SC, Jennifer is dealing with something she’s never experienced before. She’s helping the Red Cross respond to a disaster that destroyed her own home.

Prior to the recent floods, Jennifer was living in a trailer along the waterfront in Oriental, NC. Now, she describes her home and most of her belongings as unsalvageable – inundated by more than 14 inches of water.

For Jennifer, volunteering is a way to cope with what she’s been through. “It’s easier for me to get out here and do something,” she says. “I’m just here to help everybody else.” With her support, the warehouse is helping to get thousands of relief items into the hands of people who need them.

Learn more about Jennifer’s story in the video below!

Photo by: Eric Oubre/American Red Cross

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Being uprooted from your home as floodwaters rise around you is frightening. It can be really scary for anyone, but especially children.

It’s times like these when families need comforting and help shows up in a red vest. Many times volunteers come prepared with stuffed animals, toys and activities, which can bring a sense of security to little ones. It’s those small touches that help children feel safe during a difficult situation like this flooding.

In this photo one of our Red Cross volunteers plays a video game with a youngster at an evacuation shelter in Columbia, SC.

Photo by: Carl Manning/American Red Cross

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In addition to providing food and shelter for communities impacted by disaster, the American Red Cross distributes cleaning supplies, shovels, tarps, buckets and large containers at a bulk distribution site.

Red Cross volunteer Leslie Clark helps to load clean-up supplies into the back of a truck at one of several Red Cross “bulk distribution” sites following the South Carolina floods.

Photo by Jeanette Ortiz-Osorio/American Red Cross

In a world of what goes around comes around, Patricia Clark found a connection with the American Red Cross – from dark days of personal loss to giving back to others as a shelter volunteer. Patricia is a resident of Gulfport, MS, who serving as a shelter volunteer helping people displaced by the South Carolina floods. She’s logged long hours volunteering, but for her it’s worth it: “Meeting people and listening to their story and telling them it’s going to be all right. I want to let them know they can make it.”

Photo by: Jeanette Ortiz-Osorio/American Red Cross

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“The response I’ve witnessed to these tragic floods is a testament to the resiliency of South Carolinians, the proficiency of the state’s leadership, the dedication of our partners, and the tireless commitment of our 800-strong Red Cross team,” says American Red Cross President and CEO Gail McGovern upon visiting South Carolina. “The Red Cross stands by South Carolina and will continue to provide support in the days and weeks ahead.”

Photo by: Robert W. Wallace/American Red Cross

 

Jennifer Briggs – Despite personal loss, volunteer gives back

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