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Lend a Helping Hand

By Catherine Skrzypinski  5/13/2011
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Company employees and volunteers have been aiding in tornado relief efforts across the South since tornadoes swept through the region on April 27 and 28, 2011, taking more than 300 lives and leveling hundreds of homes and businesses.

“Tornadoes and floods have devastated communities and uprooted families across many states,” Charley Shimanski, senior vice president of Red Cross Disaster Services, said in a statement. “The Red Cross is working hand in hand with our federal and community partners to get assistance to people in need and help them recover.”

According to Attie Poirier, a spokeswoman with the American Red Cross, more than 400 volunteers are in the Memphis, Tenn., area, while other disaster relief workers continue to arrive in tornado-ravaged neighborhoods across the South.

Red Cross shelters are open in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.

As of early May 2011, the Red Cross had raised about $16 million in donations to support these disaster areas, Poirier said, although the charitable relief organization estimates it will spend as much as $31 million.

‘Doing the Most Good’

Meanwhile, the Salvation Army is living up to its mottodoing the most good” by meeting the immediate needs of the storm’s victims. The charitable agency is distributing nonperishable food, toiletries, baby supplies, medication, water and gasoline to hard-hit communities.

In some areas of the South, the Salvation Army is providing social workers and spiritual leaders to those who need emotional guidance.

As of May 7, 2011, the Salvation Army had distributed:  

  • 178,500 hot meals.
  • 420,000 sandwiches, snacks and beverages.
  •  144 clean-up kits.

Salvation Army officers, employees and volunteers had served more than 44,000 hours in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee and Virginia. Nearly $500,000 has been donated to the agency through the Internet and by telephone.

Catherine Skrzypinski is an online writer/editor for SHRM.






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