Monday, October 19, 2015

Carolina Volunteer Turns Heartbreak into Hope

By Kimmy Venter, American Red Cross

Jennifer Briggs has been a Red Cross volunteer since 2005. When it comes to disaster responses, it would seem she’s done it all. “I do feeding, I do sheltering, I do client casework, I’ve done damage assessment – I’m versed in most areas of the Red Cross,” she explains.

But here in Columbia, South Carolina, Jennifer is dealing with something she’s never experienced before. She’s helping the Red Cross respond to a disaster that destroyed her own home.

Prior to the recent floods, Jennifer was living in a trailer along the waterfront in Oriental, NC. Now, she describes her home and most of her belongings as unsalvageable – inundated by over 14 inches of water. She relocated to Lexington, SC this week to be close to her family, and instead of dwelling on what she’s lost, Jennifer has jumped right in to help others in need.

“I moved here Monday and I came to work for the Red Cross on Tuesday.” Jennifer has been busy ever since, getting supplies such as water, snacks, clean-up kits and toiletries in and out of the Red Cross warehouse in Columbia. Warehouse manager Greg Clover is thrilled to have the help. “[Jennifer] fits in so well, and she is a very hard worker,” he says. With her support, the warehouse is helping to get thousands of relief items into the hands of people who need them.

For Jennifer, volunteering is a way to cope with what she’s been through. “It’s easier for me to get out here and do something,” she says. “I’m just here to help everybody else.”

HOW YOU CAN HELP The Red Cross depends on the continued support of the public to help people affected by disasters big and small. People can help by donating to Red Cross Disaster Relief to support disasters big and small by visiting, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations to Disaster Relief will be used to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small.

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