Red Cross Prepares for Relief

By: Althea Paul
By: Althea Paul

July 11, 2005

As relief efforts begin in areas affected by Hurricane Dennis, our local chapter of the American Red Cross is getting ready.

In Charlottesville, the American Red Cross is waiting for word that they're needed in parts of Florida hit by the hurricane.

"Those Red Cross disaster workers that we have in our community who are trained provide disaster relief right here in Central Virginia. Many of those are now on call to respond to this disaster," said Lonnie Kirby with the local chapter of the American Red Cross.

In a disaster, food and water are top on the list for those in storm-ravaged areas. That's where the Red Cross' Emergency Response Vehicles come into play.

"The vehicle is basically designed to do mass care food service delivery and can feed about 1,000 meals a day," said Red Cross volunteer, Bill McDermott.

Across the country, about 280 of these vehicles are pre-positioned for disaster relief. Locally, the Red Cross houses two, and one is now on call. Officials say the vehicle has already gone through a checklist, and is gassed up and ready to go. Right now, the local Red Cross is waiting for the organization to assess damages to find out if they're needed and if so, when.

"We have the vehicle and the staff, the volunteers are ready," said Kirby.

So at least, those affected by Hurricane Dennis won't have to worry where their next meal will come from.

"When it shows up in a disaster neighborhood, people know what it is and in a quick day or two people wait to see it come on a schedule," said McDermott.

The Emergency Response Vehicle could leave for Florida within the next 24 hours. If you would like to make a donation to the American Red Cross to help with relief efforts, you can check out their website at

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