ANDALUSIA, Ala. — With summertime here and hurricane season upon us, the Covington County Chapter of the American Red Cross is kicking off its new Summer Disaster Campaign: The $50 Challenge.

This campaign seeks to get every business and individual that can in Covington County to donate $50 this summer to the Covington County Chapter of the American Red Cross so chapter workers and volunteers can continue to prepare for and respond to whatever disaster comes our way.

“Summer disasters are typically associated with hurricanes,” says Jeffery Biggs, executive director of the Covington County Chapter. “Those are the big ones, the ones everyone notices. What people don’t realize is that during the summer, house fires continue, floods happen, and people still need help.

“You can help! Your business can help! When you donate $50 to the Covington County Chapter of the American Red Cross, we can provide food for four people for a week to eat, the means to get new clothing, and so much more,” Biggs continues. “The Red Cross can also get the supplies needed to take care of our communities when a major disaster strikes. If everyone gave just a little, we could do so much in our community.”

The Summer Disaster Campaign: The $50 Challenge is tax deductible as allowed by law, and all proceeds stay right here in the local communities.

“Please give,” Biggs said. “I understand these are difficult economic times for many, but every dollar helps. Think about this – the next disaster could happen to you, and it could happen at any time. Won’t it be comforting to know that someone will be there to help you start picking up the pieces and rebuilding your life?”

Did you know that more than35 million Americans live in regions most threatened by Atlantic hurricanes? Hurricane season began on June 1 and is here to stay through the end of November. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the 2009 season will be near normal with four to seven hurricanes likely. Predictions call for nine to 14 named storms and 1 to 3 major hurricanes with winds of 111 mph or higher. The American Red Cross is urging those who live in areas prone to big storms to prepare now.

Steps you can take to be prepared include:

Build a disaster supplies kit or check the kit you got ready last year. Include a three-day supply of water and ready-to-eat non-perishable foods such as tuna fish, peanut butter, crackers, canned fruit, juice boxes, etc. Don’t forget a manual can opener, battery-powered radio, flashlight, and extra batteries. Your kit should also have a first aid kit, prescription and non-prescription medications, and copies of important documents.

Prepare a personal disaster and evacuation plan. Identify two meeting places, one near your home, and one outside your area in case you can’t return home. Make plans for your pets. Select an out-of-area emergency contact person.

Be informed. Know what a hurricane WATCH means. If a hurricane WATCH is issued, listen to weather updates from your battery-powered or hand-cranked radio. Bring in outdoor objects such as lawn furniture, hanging plants, bicycles, toys and garden tools, anchor objects that cannot be brought inside. Close all windows and doors. Cover windows with storm shutters or pre-cut plywood. If time permits, and you live in an identified surge zone, elevate furniture or move it to a higher floor to protect it from flooding. Fill your vehicle’s gas tank. Check your disaster supplies kit to make sure items have not expired.

If a hurricane WARNING is issued, listen to the advice of local officials, and leave if they tell you to do so. Secure your home by unplugging appliances and turning off electricity and the main water valve. If you are not advised to evacuate, stay inside, away from windows, skylights and glass doors. Do NOT use open flames, such as candles and kerosene lamps, as a source of light. If power is lost, turn off appliances to reduce damage from a power surge when electricity is restored.

In 2008, the Red Cross helped hundreds of thousands of people whose lives were affected by hurricanes. Almost 500,000 sought food and a safe place to stay in more than 1,000 Red Cross shelters. In excess of six million meals were served by more than 26,000 Red Cross staff and volunteers.

For more information regarding how individuals and families can get ready for the 2009 hurricane season, visit http://www.redcross.org.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and counsels victims of disasters; provides nearly half of the nation’s blood supply; teaches lifesaving skills; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its humanitarian mission. For more information, please visit http://www.redcross.org or join our blog at http://www.redcrosschat.org.

PHS Jr. Beta Club Comfort Kits
The Junior Beta Club at Pleasant Home School presented the Covington County Chapter of the American Red Cross with three boxes of personal hygiene kits for the upcoming storm season and for other local disasters.

“These kits will help us be better prepared to provide emergency assistance to those affected by disaster,” says Jeffery Biggs, executive director of the local Red Cross. “When we receive gifts like this, it helps reduce costs, but more than that, it shows that our community genuinely cares about those affected. The fact that students in one of our local schools took the construction of these personal hygiene kits on as a club project makes it even more special.”

Lisa Rolling, Junior Beta Club Sponsor at Pleasant Home School, presented Biggs and fellow Red Cross worker Don Johnson with the kits Wednesday, June 3 – just in time for hurricane season.

“The kids wanted to help, and this was a good project for them,” Rolling said. “We were glad we could help.”

ANDALUSIA, Ala. (May, 11, 2009) – Get trained and get ready to earn some extra money with the American Red Cross’ Babysitters Course scheduled for Thursday, June 4 from 8 a.m. to noon at the Covington County Red Cross office in Andalusia.

This unique course provides valuable training, safety skills, and CPR and First Aid for youngsters – and the young at heart – interested in babysitting to earn some extra money. The class, an in-depth 4-hour course, includes not only CPR and First Aid training, but training in skills such as supervising children and infants, basic child-care skills such as diapering, feeding, and dressing, choosing age-appropriate games and toys, discipline, interviewing for babysitting jobs, communication and much more.

“This is the first time we’ve offered this class in many years,” says Jeffery Biggs, executive director of the Covington County Chapter. “There has been a tremendous interest in offering the class again, so we are listening to our community and bringing the class back.”

Cost for the class is $40, and includes all materials and CPR/First Aid certification. Pre-registration is required, and deadline to register is Wednesday, May 27 at noon.

setting-up-ticket-booth2

We will be on the Square in Andalusia today from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. selling tickets for the third annual Taste of Covington County. You can get your tickets early and avoid the lines Monday night!
All proceeds benefit the local chapter of the American Red Cross. Call 428-2680 for more information.

There’s only one week left to get your tickets early to the 3rd Annual Taste of Covington County! Tickets are on sale now at the Cred-cross-taste-09-of-andy-8x11ovington County Red Cross office in Andalusia, from any board member, and at Superior Bank in Andalusia and Opp. This year’s Taste of Covington County is set for 6 p.m. on Monday, April 20 at the Kiwanis Community Center in Andalusia.

Tickets are only $10 each, or 4 tickets for $35. Large group discounts are also available in advance. Tickets will be on sale next Monday at the Kiwanis Building the day of the event.

For more information, call 334-428-2680.

Three students took part in the first Babysitter’s Training Class offered by the Covington County Chapter of the American Red Cross. These young ladies learned valuable skills to become certified babysitters, and how to respond to different situations while on the job. You, too, can become a Red Cross certified babysitter. Call 428-2680 for information.

Three young ladies learned how to be a better babysitter thanks to the American Red Cross Babysitter's Training course.

Three young ladies learned how to be a better babysitter thanks to the American Red Cross Babysitter's Training course.

As rain continued to fall in south Alabama, the Covington County Chapter of the American Red Cross continued to prepare to respond in the event it was called upon to meet the emergency needs of residents.

Red Cross volunteer Kathi Kelley marks a map of Covington County of affected rivers and communities impacted by the windstorm and flood waters.

Red Cross volunteer Kathi Kelley marks a map of Covington County of affected rivers and communities impacted by the windstorm and flood waters.

Erica and Abigail Kelley, Covington County Red Cross teen volunteers load the chapter's van with blankets and other supplies in advance of responding to residents in need during the floods.

Erica and Abigail Kelley, Covington County Red Cross teen volunteers load the chapter's van with blankets and other supplies in advance of responding to residents in need during the floods.

Weather conditions are rapidly changing in and around Covington County. Please keep an eye to the sky and an ear to local weather reports in the event conditions deteriorate and additional flooding takes place. For local weather updates, log on to www.weather.com or http://www.spc.noaa.gov/.

Visit the American Red Cross online

Visit the American Red Cross' website at www.redcross.org and learn about the latest national responses, how you can get your family prepared for any disaster, and more.

Red Cross Disaster Operations Across the Country

http://newsroom.redcross.org/

Flickr Photos

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