Large disasters like the historic flooding in Louisiana create more needs than any one organization can meet. We are working closely with the entire community – federal, state, county and local agencies, other nonprofit organizations, places of worship, area businesses and others – to coordinate relief efforts and deliver help quickly and efficiently.
So what does this look like in practice? While we often see organizations like Southern Baptist Disaster Relief on the frontlines operating mobile kitchens and feeding thousands of people with us every day, some organizations come through in more unique ways, playing a behind-the-scenes role just as critical to our operation.
Taking Care of Louisiana Flood Shelter Residents
Take Church of the Brethren Children’s Disaster Services (CDS). Since 1980, CDS has been meeting the needs of children impacted by disaster by setting up temporary child care centers and using therapeutic activities and toys that stimulate imaginative play. Specially trained and certified volunteers provide a calm, safe and reassuring presence for children, as well as individualized consultation for parents about their child’s unique emotional needs. Several teams of CDS volunteers are working in Louisiana, caring for children and families who have been displaced.
In addition, Save the Children deployed an emergency response team to Baton Rouge to establish child-friendly spaces in emergency shelters and assess children’s most urgent needs. For more than 75 years, this organization has been helping children survive and thrive. In times of acute crisis, they mobilizing rapid, life-saving assistance to help children recover from the effects of war, conflict and natural disasters.
Shelter residents may also have met with members from Presbyterian Disaster Assistance and International Orthodox Christian Charities, who provided volunteers for spiritual care in shelters, or a team from IEEE providing telecommunications support such as charging cell phones.
Manpower and Brain Power: Louisiana Flood Operations
To assist with operations, Red Cross is partnering with Lott Carey and the National Baptist Convention of America to provide call center resources for our disaster hotline.
The Louisiana AFL-CIO is helping find drivers for emergency response vehicles and bulk workers to assist with distribution of supplies for the local communities. Comprised of local unions, Building Trade Councils, Central Labor Councils and district and statewide organizations, the Louisiana AFL-CIO also provided facilities for sheltering and feeding for Red Cross volunteers.
Damage assessment for flood victims is a huge mission. Islamic Relief USA and AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps have both deployed as the “boots on the ground” partners to pull off this part of our operation.