Red Cross addresses confusion about donations at River Center sh - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Red Cross addresses confusion about donations at River Center shelter

Source: WAFB Source: WAFB
BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) -

The Red Cross is hoping to clear up confusion about donations at a Baton Rouge shelter. 

Viewers have told 9News about the Red Cross denying help or throwing away donations at the River Center. 

The organization said they have not thrown away any donations. However, officials said the donations are being brought to a certain room in the River Center until they know what to do with them. 

The shelter at the River Center is state-run by the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services with help from the Red Cross.

Officials say that every shelter has different needs and that when people drop off loads of clothes, the Red Cross needs to find volunteers to sort through them. Workers said they do not have the manpower to process and sort through items such as food, clothing and medicines.

The Red Cross said they do not accept clothing donations. If they need clothes, they can get them through partner organizations. 

Officials say the best way people can be the most helpful right now is by donating monetarily. The Red Cross uses that money to purchase food, water and supplies for volunteers to distribute. 

Officials added that they currently have enough volunteers. 

The following is a letter released Sunday afternoon from Nancy Malone with the Red Cross: 

Good afternoon,

Our hearts go out to those affected by the devastating floods in Louisiana. We know this is a frustrating and challenging time for everyone involved, and American Red Cross volunteers are doing their best to get assistance to as many people as quickly as possible. Our primary goal is the safety of the people we are serving – and we will continue to make decisions that ensure people staying in Red Cross shelters are receiving the utmost care and support in a safe environment. 

Large disasters like this flooding create more needs than any one organization can meet, and that’s why the Red Cross is working closely with the whole response community – federal, state, parish and local agencies, other non-profits, places of worship, area businesses and others – to coordinate relief efforts and deliver help quickly and efficiently. 

In particular, we’ve been working closely with the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services as state run, community run and Red Cross emergency shelters have been operating. The Red Cross will continue our work to ensure that all food and medicines distributed in Red Cross shelters are within state health department guidelines. 

With regard to donated items, the Red Cross does not have the capacity or infrastructure to process items such as food, clothing and medicines, and thus establishes partnerships with local entities to manage these generous donations. Partners through the Louisiana Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) are coordinating the receipt and distribution of donated items such as household goods and cleaning supplies. 

It’s important to remember that most relief agencies agree that financial donations are the quickest and best way to get help to the people who need it most. It takes time and money to sort, process, transport and then distribute donated items — whereas financial donations can be accessed quickly and put to use right away. This allows families who have lost everything to make their own decisions about what they need most. As an added benefit, financial donations allow non-profits and disaster victims to purchase items locally, stimulating the economy of the disaster-affected area. 

Since the onset of the flooding, the Red Cross and partners have provided more than 200,000 meals and snacks, distributed more than 32,000 relief items, and provided more than 39,000 shelter stays. And the Red Cross response is just beginning – our volunteers will be on the ground for weeks to help people recover.

Thank you,
Nancy

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