American Red Cross and Salvation Army prepare for disaster relief, look for donations and volunteers

The American Red Cross said fall is the busiest time of year.
Published: Sep. 27, 2022 at 6:17 PM EDT
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UPPER MICHIGAN, Mich. (WLUC) - Every disaster is different. They can be isolated house fires or wide-scale hurricanes. Regardless, organizations like the American Red Cross and Salvation Army are prepared to help.

“If you had a significant event in one of the counties in the U.P. and they got overwhelmed and needed more water or more food, they would call me,” said Benny Benedict, Salvation Army Wisconsin & U.P. Director of Disaster Relief. “Then I would get that help coming to them.”

Services provided range from giving water to Firefighters, to relocating evacuation refugees. The American Red Cross said fall is the busiest time of year.

“Because of hurricane season and also because people start with their home heating. House fires increase during the fall,” said Wendy Savage, American Red Cross North Central Wisconsin Region executive director.

Savage said the most common disaster the Red Cross responds to is house fires.

“That is our largest response. There are more than 60,000 house fires across the nation each year,” Savage said.

Relief efforts for both the Red Cross and Salvation Army are funded through donations and are mostly done by volunteers. For pending disasters, like in Florida with Hurricane Ian, Benedict recommends cash donations over clothing or food donations.

“It is very expensive to get the food transported down there,” Benedict said. “Then we have to find a warehouse and even then, we might not be sure it is needed. While monetary donations are the best.”

For donating money online, Benedict and Savage recommend only using the official Salvation Army or Red Cross websites, ending in “dot org.” That’s a safe way to avoid scams.