By Jen McCoy, Daily Register | Posted: Friday, October 1, 2010
Before the flooding came, the American Red Cross was ready to help. The organization was present in Portage beginning Sept. 24, said Rachel Reichhoff, the community relations manager for the American Red Cross-Badger Chapter.
“We estimate that we’ll provide assistance to 60 families from cleanup kits, to physical help, to any kind of assistance. For all the flood damage, we’re going to need to raise $55,000 for recovery. It’s showing more damage than we anticipated,” she said.
Money from the organization’s Disaster Relief Fund was used to respond to the floodwaters. The fund is used by the Badger Chapter to respond to emergencies within their 13 counties at any time during the year.
“We have Columbia, Sauk, Adams and Juneau counties that have been affected in some way or another,” Reichhoff said.
Disaster partners are businesses or people who commit to make a yearly donation to the Red Cross. Area businesses that signed on as disaster partners are Saint-Gobain, which donated $3,500, Ballweg Ford, which donated $2,500, and Ho Chunk, which donated $2,500. Ho Chunk also donated $6,000 in July so the chapter could purchase a Red Cross shelter trailer, which was used during this disaster. Cardinal Glass committed to giving $3,000 for flood recovery response.
“We are needing as many businesses as we can get signed on as disaster partners because right now we only have three and we have four counties (affected),” Reichhoff said.
To date, the Red Cross has served more than 1,200 meals to volunteers and affected residents in Columbia County. It also distributed 102 clean up kits, 76 comfort kits (that include blankets, toothpaste, and deodorant), and provided shelter to 68 people. The organization also is matching people with organizations and volunteers able to help with the physical cleanup.
People can donate money to the Red Cross in several ways: Text REDCROSS to 90999 to give $10, which will be added to your mobile phone bill, send a check to American Red Cross Badger Chapter at 4860 Sheboygan Ave., Madison, WI 53705, or donate online at arcbadger.org.
For more information, or to become a disaster partner, contact Rachel Reichhoff at 355-0943. People affected by the flooding and in need of assistance may contact the Red Cross-Badger Chapter toll-free number 877-618-6628.