Red Cross Stays Busy in Sumter


Written by: Nancy Cataldo, Executive Director, American Red Cross, Sandhills Chapter

Yesterday, the Sandhills Chapter of the American Red Cross was very busy helping members of the community recover after a home fire, as well as practicing for future hurricane responses.

Red Cross volunteer, Steve Shumake, responded to a fire that completely destroyed a home in Sumter.  In total, he assisted a family of four including a nine year-old child. He provided the family financial assistance to purchase food and clothing lost in the fire, as well as temporary lodging and referrals to local agencies.

One adult suffered severe burns and was flown to the August Burn Center in Georgia.  We have been in contact with the Augusta Chapter of the Red Cross to check on the client in the hospital and get updates on his condition. We will continue to be there for this family on their road to recovery.

Yesterday we were also busy participating in a State Hurricane Exercise in Clarendon County.  The exercise involved a shelter opening at Manning High School as a result of a hurricane evacuation. Red Cross staff and volunteers partnered with South Carolina Emergency Management and the Department of Social Services (DSS) to open the shelter and provide services to the individuals that registered. We also had a volunteer that staffed the Clarendon Emergency Operations Center.

As part of the day, the Red Cross trained 42 DSS workers in Shelter Operations and 12 people participated in our Shelter Simulation class. Our partners at McDonald’s in Manning provided the lunch and Clarendon School District 2 provided snacks and drinks to all participants.

As you can see yesterday was a busy day.  We were able to help a family in their darkest hour and also prepare to help our community in the event of a large disaster because of you. Thank you to our dedicated volunteers for giving their time and to our financial donors for supporting our mission each and every day.

Disaster Alert: We Need Your Help

Microsoft Word - On March 16th.docx

Red Cross Provides Relief to People Affected by Myrtle Beach Apartment Fire

On March 16th, a large fire in Myrtle Beach destroyed over 100 units at Windsor Green apartments in Carolina Forest, displacing hundreds of people. Red Cross jumped into action immediately and is continuing  to help displaced residents and first responders. 

Red Cross arrives on the scene of the apartment fire on March15th in Carolina Forest.

Red Cross arrives on the scene of the apartment fire on March15th in Carolina Forest.

Since yesterday’s fire, the Red Cross has registered 189 residents in its shelter and has provided over 1,000 meals and 2,100 snacks and drinks to residents affected by the fire and first responders.

Casework to determine financial assistance will begin on Monday, March 18th at 10 a.m. Residents are encouraged to go the Red Cross shelter starting at 10 a.m. at Beach Church, located at 557 George Bishop Parkway to receive assistance. If you cannot come to the shelter, please call the Red Cross at (843) 477-0020 for assistance.


30 Red Cross volunteers and multiple Red Cross response vehicles remain on the scene of the apartment fire, providing food and hydration to first responders. Trained Red Cross mental health workers are providing emotional support to people affected by the fire.


You can help your neighbors recover from disasters like home fires by making a financial contribution to the American Red Cross today by visiting or by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS.  Financial donations may also be mailed to the American Red Cross, 8085 Rivers Avenue, Suite F, North Charleston SC 29406.

If you would like to donate non-cash items, the Red Cross recommends contacting their partner agencies, Goodwill and Salvation Army or contacting other local non-profit organizations in the community that accept non-cash items.

On average the American Red Cross, Palmetto SC Region responds to a disaster every 6.5 hours. Since the beginning of its fiscal year to March 15, 2013, the Palmetto SC Region responded to 1,097 disasters, helping 3,737 adults and children that were affected by disasters. The Palmetto SC Region is made up of seven Red Cross chapters that span 35-counties of South Carolina.


Red Cross Helps 20 Residents Displaced by a Multi-Unit Fire at Stone Ridge Apartments in Columbia

On March 6th, we received a call from the Columbia Fire Department about a multi-unit apartment fire that they were battling at Stone Ridge Apartments located at 1000 Watermark Place in Columbia. We immediately begin to dispatch our disaster workers to help meet the immediate needs of all residents that were displaced by the fire.

Here are some photos from our response…




Our workers provided all 20 displaced residents with financial assistance to purchase food, clothing, shoes and other essential items. We also gave each person a blanket and a hygiene kit, which includes basic items such as a tooth brush, soap, and shampoo. Children were given stuffed animals for a sense of safety and security.

We also worked with the apartment complex to secure temporary housing for all displaced residents.

Thank you to our disaster team for helping make this response possible!


The Palmetto SC Region is made of up seven Red Cross chapters that span across 35 of 46 counties of South Carolina.  On average, our volunteers respond to a disaster every 6.5 hours.

You can help your neighbors recover from disasters like home fires by making a financial contribution or volunteering your time by visiting or by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS.  Donations may also be mailed to your local Red Cross chapter.  

Red Cross Takes Steps Now to Prepare for Hurricane Season at the Rachel Hodges Leadership Institute

Hurricane season has arrived!  As you prepare to safeguard your families it is important to plan for the worst and know and understand the resources that are available to you. 

It is also very important for the Red Cross to train and prepare to be ready to respond during hurricane season.  For that reason, the Red Cross, Francis Marion University and the Konduros Fishermen Fund hosted the inaugral Rachel Hodges Leadership Institute from May 19 -24, providing volunteers with a new perspective on disaster training and ensuring that everyone is prepared for the 2012 Hurricane Season. 

In total, over 350 volunteers and staff from 12 states traveled to Florence, SC to recieve training in specialized areas of disaster preparedness and response at the Intstitute. 

One of our training highlights was the Red Cross 53-foot mobile kitchen, the “Spirit of America.”  During the two-day “Disaster Kitchen Training” course, volunteers gained the opportunity to see first-hand how to manage mass feeding operations during large scale disasters.  The “Spirit of America” is a fully self-contained trailer, designed to daily produce 30,000 hot “home-style” meals within heavily impacted disaster areas.  Meals prepared in the unit can then be loaded onto mobile feeding trucks to be distributed to disaster victims throughout affected areas.

During the exercise, Red Cross volunteers cooked food donated thanks to Perdue and American Italian Pasta Company.  Once the 500 meals were prepared, the volunteers loaded them in mobile feeding trucks and delivered them to five fixed locations throughout the Pee Dee.

The hands on training was broken down in three key areas….

1.) cooking the meals 2.) packaging the meals 3.) loading the meals in our mobile feeing trucks 4.) delivering the meals to the community

Red Cross volunteers were up bright and early at 5 am to cook meals inside of the “Spirit of America”

Volunteers packaged 500 hot meals that morning.

Meals are placed into cambros and then loaded into mobile feeding trucks for distribution at five feeding sites.

Sonnoco Plant workers were among the many to receive a hot meal that early afternoon.

Click here if you would like to see more photos of the “Disaster Kitchen Training” excercise.

This week was filled with insightful learning opportunities. Volunteers and staff also participated in the annual South Carolina Hurricane Meeting and Excercise to prepare and practice emergency readiness and response plans.

In addition, President of Humanitarian Services for the National American Red Cross, Jerry DeFrancisco traveled from Washington, D.C. to deliver a keynote speech at the Institute Welcome Luncheon. DeFrancisco oversees operations of more than 1,200 Red Cross locations across the country and around the world.  He inspired attendees by sharing his personal experiences and the true values of what makes an outstanding, visionary leader. 

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer or signing up for Red Cross disaster training, please contact our Regional Volunteer Manager, or call (803) 540-1242.

Thank you to all of the generous sponsors for making the Leadership Institute possible!

Thank you to our local heroes!

Here’s to all the volunteers!

“Here’s to all volunteers, those dedicated people who believe in all work and no pay.”    -Robert Orben

April 15-21 is National Volunteer Week and the Red Cross wants to celebrate its dedicated volunteers and partners. These volunteers power the American Red Cross and making it possible for the Red Cross to prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies.

Our volunteers are central to the work of the Red Cross in our commuinity and in communities across the country, as on average, the Red Cross has 15 volunteers for every one employee. Our volunteers are people of action—whether providing comfort to a family whose home has been washed away in a flood or getting an emergency message to a member of the military whose father is critically ill.

Today and always, we salute you.  Your dedication to serving others helps to make the vision of the Red Cross a reality.

Red Cross is on the Ground Providing Relief

Red Cross workers assess tornado damage with a resident of the Ogden community in Rock Hill, SC

On Wednesday, November 16, 2011, when most families were sitting down to eat their dinner, a storm roared through York and Chester Counties leaving a path of destruction in its wake.  Unconfirmed reports of at least three possible tornadoes and numerous straight-line winds hit the York County area directly impacting the quiet Ogden community located at Williamson Road and Highway 324 in York County. 

Multiple homes were completely destroyed and numerous others damaged.  There were three confirmed deaths and five on-scene evacuations to local hospitals as a result of this severe storm. 

Disaster workers deliver meals to first responders and residents affected in the Ogden community in Rock Hill, SC.

The Red Cross was an integral partner in the network of community members and organizations that came to the aid of the tornado victims.  We were on the scene within hours to feed first responders and residents affected by this disaster and stayed there until the situation was resolved.  Our volunteers spent an estimated 157 hours supporting first responders, providing individual client assistance, feeding the volunteers of other organizations, distributing comfort items and counseling affected residents.  

In total, 20 Red Cross disaster workers provided over 230 meals and 1,961 snacks and 31 comfort kits and clean up kits to residents affected by the tornado.   

A resident of the Ogden community thanks Red Cross workers for being there for her and her neighbors in their darkest hours.

Please help us provide relief by making a financial donation to American Red Cross Disaster Relief.  We can’t do this without your help.  American Red Cross Disaster Relief not only supports the costs associated with a disaster response, like food and volunteers deployment, but also supports year-round readiness and maintenance costs.  It pays for the vehicle fleet, warehouses, IT systems and volunteer training that must be maintained 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to keep us ready to respond.

As the Red Cross offers comfort and relief to residents, we are grateful to individuals like you who guarantee that we will be there, every step of the way.  Together, we can face the challenges today, and those that lie ahead.

With our mission in mind,

Scott R. Salemme

Regional CEO

American Red Cross, Columbia Region

P.S.  The Red Cross is able to be a comfort in times of need for thousands of people every year.  But we need your help to ensure we will continue to be there for our neighbors in the future.  Please consider a donation today.

Click here for more pictures of this disaster. 

You can help people affected by disasters like tornadoes, as well as countless crises at home and around the world, by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief.  Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for and provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance in response to disasters.  Visit or call 1-800-RED-CROSS.  Contributions may also be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter at 200 Piedmont Blvd Rock Hill, SC 29732 or to the American Red Cross, P. O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.