Red Cross in need of donations while providing aid for California wildfires, Hurricane Laura

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CLEVELAND (WJW) — Hurricane Laura has destroyed and damaged thousands of homes in both Louisiana and Texas.

There’s no power and many people cannot stay in their own homes.

Red Cross volunteers from Northeast Ohio have been working since the hurricane to help people get back on their feet.

“The guests come in and say I only have the shoes on my feet and they’re slippers,” Red Cross volunteer Callene Derrick of Lorain said.

And for some people, it’s the loss of power that’s forced them to leave their homes. 

“While their homes may be in tact, they don’t have any electricity and when it’s 100 degrees, that’s a significant issue,” volunteer Paul Hiszem of Norwalk said.

Although the storms are long gone on the Gulf Coast, in California, the fires are still going and could continue for weeks.


“With the fires they may say today that it’s 35 percent contained or 95 percent contained, then with a good strike of lightning, it could start everything up again; it’s constantly evolving, always changing,” volunteer Nikki Stoffer of Stark County said.

This double whammy of need has the American Red Cross working to help thousands of families.

The organization pays for things like food, water, sheltering families in hotels and even providing counseling for folks dealing with tremendous loss.

There is a critical need for funds to help folks in the hardest hit areas find shelter and comfort in a disaster that’s been complicated by the pandemic.

But despite this, the volunteers say it’s all about helping others.

“It comes down to if we don’t step up and help the people, who will? The need is so tremendous,” Hiszem said.

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