Release: National 9.18.08

September 18, 2008

Hurricane Ike Highlights the Need for American Red Cross Support

Red Cross Annual Disaster Giving Program Financial Supporters Recognized

WASHINGTON, Thursday, September 18, 2008 – Hurricane Ike crashed into the Texas coast as a Category 2 hurricane and the American Red Cross is providing shelter, food and emotional support to tens of thousands of residents affected by the powerful storm.

With more than 200 shelters opened across several states, in coordination with our partners, the Red Cross has provided more than 100,000 overnight stays to people affected by Hurricane Ike. Many areas are open only to emergency responders; Red Cross mobile feeding vehicles are in some of these areas and the Red Cross is working with partners to establish several kitchens throughout affected areas once areas are deemed safe. In those areas where residents are allowed to return home, safety is a primary concern.

Before any of these hurricanes made landfall, the Red Cross was there. We reached out to residents with tips to lessen the potential damage, and prepared the community with the skills needed for emergencies through educational courses and guides. We pre-positioned cots, blankets, comfort kits and other relief supplies to be ready at a moment’s notice. As a storm organizes, so do we.

In advance of Ike’s landfall, the Red Cross moved mobile feeding trucks and trailer support trucks containing thousands of cots, blankets, comfort kits and ready-to-eat meals. The Red Cross is currently sheltering, feeding and providing mental health counseling to help both victims and emergency personnel. Additional financial donations are needed to support ongoing Red Cross relief efforts and in preparation for the remainder of hurricane season.

“The Red Cross is able to prepare for disasters before they occur thanks to the financial support received from our Annual Disaster Giving Program members,” said Jeff Towers, Chief Development Officer for the American Red Cross. “Their financial commitment is critical to our ability to provide immediate relief during times like this active hurricane season.”

Annual Disaster Giving Program members pledge donations on an on-going basis, in advance of major disasters, to help the Red Cross ensure an immediate response to meet the needs of those affected by disasters of all sizes, at no cost and regardless of income.

The Red Cross will continue to mobilize volunteers and supplies, such as clean-up kits, into the affected areas as local authorities allow entry. Red Cross case workers will work with individuals and families to provide additional assistance based on the damage sustained to their homes, and will provide emotional care and comfort to help residents and emergency workers manage the stress and fear that accompanies all disasters.

People can join the Annual Disaster Giving Program members in supporting the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund and help provide food, shelter, counseling and other assistance to the victims of thousands of disasters across the country each year, disasters like the Hurricanes of 2008. Log-on to or call 1-800 RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make a donation.

Members of the Annual Disaster Giving Program:

American Express
AXA Foundation
ConAgra Foods
FedEx Corporation
JCPenney Company Fund
Kimberly-Clark Corporation
Merck & Co, Inc.
Morgan Stanley
Raytheon Company
State Farm
State Street Foundation
The TJX Companies, Inc.

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