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.


Red Cross Shelters and Feeds Displaced Residents in Sumter

Garden Circle Apartment resident, Mr. Burgess, rests and eats a meal at the Red Cross shelter, located at Sumter County Parks and Recreation Department

Red Cross disaster workers  from the Columbia Region provided shelter and meals to 19 residents that were evacuated after a fire occurred Saturday, October 22nd at the Garden Circle Apartments in Sumter, SC.  The shelter was open for five days and was located at the Sumter County Parks and Recreation Department on 155 Haynesworth Street. 

Over this five day period, the Red Cross provided 72 overnight stays, 254 meals, 236 snacks and 19 hygiene kits.  24 trained disaster workers, including nursing support, were on the scene 24-7 providing mental health counseling and emotional support to meet the immediate, disaster-caused needs of each resident.

Shetler residents gather to eat a meal together at the Red Cross Shelter located at Sumter County Parks and Recreation.

Disaster volutneer, Dan Coto serves drinks for shelter residents.

This is the second time that the Red Cross has provided a shelter for the residents of the Garden Circle Apartments.   On July 16th another fire caused residents to be evacuated and a shelter was opened at the Bernie Center, remaining open for five days. During that shelter operation the Red Cross provided 60 overnight stays, 149 meals, 672 snacks and 15 hygiene kits to shelter residents.

“During both shelter operations, our dedicated disaster volunteers were on the scene and provided a safe place and positive support system for our shelter residents,” said Scott R. Salemme, regional chief executive officer, American Red Cross, Columbia Region.  “We are not a government agency and rely solely on the generosity of the community to support our disaster relief program.  We ask that our community continues to support our important work by making a financial donation to help as we prepare for and respond to disasters every day.” 

You can help your neighbors prepare for and recover from disasters like home fires by making a financial contribution to the American Red Cross today by visiting, calling (803) 775-2363, or mailing a check to the American Red Cross, 1155 N. Guignard, Suite 2, Sumter, SC 29150.

For more Red Cross fire safety and preparedness information, visit