Yumans step up to help Hurricane Sandy victims
As crews work to clean up the devastation left behind by Hurricane Sandy, Yumans have opened their hearts and pocketbooks to help those in need on the other side of the nation.
Over the last three days, Yumans have donated about $900 to assist the relief efforts, said Brian Gomez, communications specialist with the American Red Cross, Grand Canyon Chapter, Friday afternoon. And the giving continues.
Merchants in Yuma's historic downtown district joined forces Friday to raise money in response to Hurricane Sandy, with a number of restaurants and businesses pledging to donate a percentage of proceeds to the American Red Cross Grand Canyon Chapter for disaster relief.
“The outpouring of support from the city of Yuma and its caring citizens has been phenomenal,” said Andretta Schellinger, the Yuma County Emergency Services specialist for the Grand Canyon Chapter. “The funds collected will go a long way for the Red Cross in helping people affected by this devastating storm take the initial steps in rebuilding their lives.”
Merchants who participated in Friday's fundraiser benefiting Sandy victims include Adobe Laser Etching, Basket Creations & More, Colorado River Pottery, Da Boyz Pizza & Pasta, Das Bratwurst Haus, Doug TerHark CPA, Dream Gift Shop, Hair-Z-End By Jay, Hard Rock Concrete, Design & Distribution, Lorenzo Jewelers, Lutes Casino, Manhattan Parlor, Margie's Crafts, Ms. Betty's Boutique, Nature's Deli, Plaza Paint Store, Prickly Pear, The Garden Cafe, The Redondo Room, Timeless Elegance Antiques, Treasures, Village Art Gallery, Yuma Art Center, Yuma School of Beauty and Yuma's Main Squeeze.
After Friday, donations can be made online at www.redcross.org/donate, or people can text redcross90999 for a $10 donation that will be charged to their cell phone bills, Gomez said. They also can mail checks to: American Red Cross, 6135 N. Black Canyon Highway, Phoenix, AZ 85015.
People in Yuma have offered food and clothing, he said, but the logistics of processing and transporting such items are very difficult.
The best way people can help is through cash donations to offset the cost of the shelters, he said, noting that it costs the Red Cross $12 a night for food and other costs per person staying in the shelters.
As of Friday afternoon, millions of people were still without power and 6,800 people were still staying in 97 shelters provided by Red Cross in nine states: New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Delaware, West Virginia, Maryland and Ohio.
Gomez anticipates it will be another couple of weeks for everyone in the shelters to be able to return home. For those who no longer have a house to go home to, Red Cross will provide assistance in finding other housing.
Nine Red Cross disaster relief workers from Arizona — none from Yuma — and two emergency response vehicles from Phoenix have been deployed to the hardest areas of the East Coast, Gomez said.
Although 365 blood drives had to be cancelled in the East Coast, Gomez said the organization isn't yet experiencing a national shortage of donated blood.
He noted that the next Red Cross blood drive in Yuma will be Nov. 30. It will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Homewood Suites, 1955 E. 16th St. To make an appointment, go to www.redcross.blood and enter Yuma's zip code of 85364.
Joyce Lobeck can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 539-6853. Find her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/YSJoyceLobeck or on Twitter at @YSJoyceLobeck.