BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - It's still a dire situation in South Carolina. Historic flooding causing breaches in dams, more than 400,000 people under a boil water advisory, at least 15 deaths reported, and yet more families could still be evacuated. Who was first on the scene to help? Who is always first on the scene during disasters? The American Red Cross.
And once again Louisiana comes through to help victims of another natural disaster.
"When you go to a shelter you may not have much more than what's on your back," said Nancy Malone, Director of Public Affairs for the Louisiana Red Cross. "They just need to know somebody cares right now."
This is a fact Nancy and her husband know too well. They were both Red Cross volunteers during Hurricane Katrina. Nancy was so moved by that experience she now works for the Red Cross. Her current focus is coordinating the Louisiana volunteer efforts to help South Carolina.
"So many of our Louisiana volunteers are there to work in the shelters," explained Nancy. "Think of those basics that you don't have and the comfort that provides when you're able to come in and somebody's welcoming you there. They've already got a cot set out and a blanket there for you, maybe a stuffed animal for your children."
WAFB's Hand It On team wanted to help too. Without Nancy knowing the real reason why we were visiting her Sherwood Common office in Baton Rouge, we ask Nancy how a concerned Baton Rouge citizen might help without being able to make a trip to South Carolina.
"You know the most important way to it, when Red Cross is there, is to give financial gifts," she said. "That allows us at that moment to make the decisions we need about what's needed."
"Well as you know, WAFB has a Hand It On program," I began to explain. "And we're going to give the Red Cross our Hand It On donation today to help with the efforts in Carolina."
"Thank you," Nancy's voice quivered in surprise at our unexpected cash donation. "We know what this means. And it's incredible to see how much love there is from Louisiana because we've experienced this before. We can reach out from Louisiana and say we've been there. We're here for you and we're not going away. We're gonna walk you through this."
Nancy explained how even a couple of dollars can give a displaced flood victim some of the basics like tooth brushes and wash cloths.
"And you don't think that's much," Nancy said. "But if you just left your home and in some of their cases very suddenly, every dollar matters. Thank you. Thank you!"
If you'd like to help the flooding victims in South Carolina, donations to the Red Cross can be made by visiting www.redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or texting REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Checks may be made out to American Red Cross.