Thursday, May 13, 2010

Red Cross Volunteer Lourdes Mariscal from Utah Helps Displaced Individuals in Memphis Area Shelter

Orem, UTAH (Thursday, May 12, 2010) -- Lourdes Mariscal of Orem, Utah is working long hours in a shelter in a Memphis, Tennessee suburb. She is helping those displaced by the flooding after the recent devastating spring storms that have turned the South upside down. She is one of six Red Cross disaster relief volunteers from Utah who have been deployed to help in the South.

Lourdes shared, “This one woman was curled up on her cot, just so distressed. She is displaced from her home due to the flooding. She said she had so many problems she just didn’t want to live. She had some medical issues as well and didn’t feel well. My heart went out to her and I was so concerned for her at the shelter. I made an effort to help her and even was able to joke around with her a bit. I noticed the other people in the shelter were concerned for her also, and everyone just pulled together and made an effort to help her out and support her. Not just the Red Cross volunteers, but other people who are here as clients because they have been displaced by the floods. By the next day, this woman regained her strength and was actually smiling and helping out in the shelter kitchen. This will be one of the people I will remember the most from this experience.”

Lourdes said she encourages more people to volunteer to help on disasters, “People out there who are unemployed right now could become Red Cross trained volunteers and help on disasters like this. It would give them something to do while they are unemployed. In turn, it would be so good for them. Volunteering in a disaster is so rewarding and enriching. I would stay here longer if I didn’t need to get back to work.” Lourdes is scheduled to return to Utah from her two week deployment on the 19th. She wants to share her Red Cross story with as many people as possible, “Many of the people we are helping here have no idea that the Red Cross is not a government funded agency and that we offer disaster relief services only thanks to donations from the public and work done by volunteers. I’m telling everyone I come into contact with to support the Red Cross, to make donations and become a volunteer.”

Lourdes is at one of 59 shelters open right now and she is one of 3,154 Red Cross disaster workers on the ground as recovery continues across the Mississippi Valley and the Southeast from strong storms that began late April and continued through early May 2010. The storm system produced record rainfall, tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, and widespread flooding that resulted in extensive damage in Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama. Rivers and streams in western Tennessee will remain near or above flood stage for the next few days.

How You Can Help

Help individuals affected by disasters by donating to the national Disaster Relief Fund. Donate at call 1-800-REDCROSS or text “RedCross” to 90999 and a $10 donation will be deducted from your next mobile phone bill. On those rare occasions when donations exceed Red Cross expenses for a specific disaster, contributions are used to prepare for and serve victims of other disasters.

About the American Red Cross in Utah: The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and counsels victims of disasters; teaches lifesaving skills; supplies blood to 30 area hospitals; and supports military members and their families. The organization also provides emergency utility assistance and international family tracing services. The American Red Cross is a nonprofit organization, not a government funded agency, which depends entirely upon volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its humanitarian mission. Donate your time or resources to your local Red Cross: Mountain Valley Chapter/Provo (801) 373-8580, Northern Utah Chapter/Ogden (801) 627-0000, Cache Valley Area/Logan (435) 752-1125, Greater Salt Lake Area Chapter (801) 323-7000. Visit click on “Across Utah.”

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