By: Jeffery L. Biggs
American Red Cross
RUSHFORD, MN, August 29, 2007 – When relief workers and residents in the flood-ravaged areas of southeast Minnesota and southwest Wisconsin began the arduous cleaning process, they didn’t have to worry about having the proper supplies. Instead, the American Red Cross has been able to provide more than 3,000 clean-up kits which include brooms, buckets, cleaning solutions, and more. The Red Cross has also been able to provide invaluable gloves and hand sanitizer to the workers; helping protect themselves during the potentially hazardous cleaning process.
The gloves, manufactured for the American Red Cross by Magla Products under a licensing agreement, provide an extra layer of protection for disaster relief workers and residents cleaning their homes and businesses; helping protect them from potentially harmful contact bacteria and hazardous materials such as nails, screws, and other sharp objects.
The hand sanitizer, also manufactured for the American Red Cross under a special licensing agreement with WaterJel, gives users a way to clean and sanitize their hands after working in the mud and muck of the flooded areas.
One of the folks taking advantage of the gloves and sanitizer was Larie Wohlert of Spring Grove, Minn. Larie was working relief efforts in Rushford as part of the Houston County, Minn. Cattlemen’s Association clean-up project.
“It’s great that we can have something to protect our hands while we’re working and then have a good cleanser for them when we’re done,” said Larie. “The Red Cross has been extremely helpful in providing supplies to help get the work done.” In addition to hand sanitizer and work gloves to help people with individual clean-up and salvage, local vendors like Valley Crest donated two-wheeled sturdy hand trucks to easily move pallets of in-kind donations perhaps the most precious donation – a little girl’s donation of 75 cans of insect repellent to help workers in the flood zones.
“This 5-year-old girl and her mother, Lisa Anttila, brought in several cases of bug repellent to be used by the workers,” said Sandy Zuiderhoek of in-kind donations. “It was a very nice gesture and greatly appreciated.”
“Marissa wanted to help out,” said her mom, Lisa. “I’m an Avon representative, and she always likes delivering [products of orders]with me. We sent out a call to all of our customers for bug spray because we had heard that the bees and mosquitoes were so bad. We were able to collect at least 70 cans of spray, and she enjoyed bringing them to the Red Cross so she could help out, too.”
The distribution and use of the gloves, hand sanitizer, and other clean-up materials is all part of the Red Cross’ plan to help those who need it most when disaster strikes, and is part of the Red Cross’ nationwide campaign which encourages people to “Be Red Cross Ready.”
This campaign stresses individuals and families taking preparedness steps ahead of time for whatever the future may bring – be it a natural disaster, a personal disaster such as a house fire, or even a traffic wreck while traveling. The focus of the campaign is to get or make an emergency supplies kit – both for home and in the car; making an evacuation and family communications plan; and being informed about what to do during an emergency.