The News Courier in Athens, Alabama


May 6, 2014

Checking in for aid: Red Cross requesting registration from storm survivors

— About a dozen Red Cross volunteers wearing bright red smocks bustled about the gymnasium at Friendship United Methodist Church Tuesday afternoon, as displaced residents from the April 28 storms registered for recovery assistance.

Red Cross officials said since the emergency overnight shelter closed Saturday, they are asking families to register at the new storm recovery site at Friendship Church, which is located at 16479 Lucas Ferry Road in Athens.

Friendship, which sheltered about 170 people in its community safe room April 28-29, opened its doors Saturday evening to the Red Cross disaster relief team.

“The Red Cross is helping families connect with all the resources available,” church spokeswoman Nikki Colwell said.

Even if displaced residents previously checked in at the overnight shelter, they must register at the new assistance site, according to Charlotte Simpson, a Red Cross client and caseworker manager.

Simpson said about 70 families had registered through Tuesday afternoon but added there are many more displaced residents still needing to connect with the Red Cross.

She said displaced residents first need to come to the aid center, where volunteers and translators are available to refer them for assistance, provide counseling and health services and help apply for federal aid by registering with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA.

The Red Cross provides short-term and emergency assistance, but Simpson said a long-term recovery fund being managed by United Way would be available to eligible storm victims.

“It’s pulling together partnering agencies that are committed to helping rebuild the community,” she said.

The toll-free number for FEMA is 1-800-621-3362. For homeowners needing debris removal help, contact the United Way of Athens-Limestone County at 256-233-2323.


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