This information was last updated on Thursday, January 26 at 7:00 a.m.Please check back regularly for updates.
Californians have begun the monumental task of cleaning up after the recent weeks of severe weather, an undertaking that could take months to complete. The American Red Cross is helping them now and will also be there in the days and weeks to come, supporting people as they recover from the storms.
Since the New Year’s Eve, more than 700 American Red Cross disaster workers are helping people impacted by this stretch of back-to-back severe weather, providing them with a safe place to stay, food to eat, relief supplies, emotional support and comfort. The Red Cross and partners have provided more than 9,100 shelter stays in 82 shelters, more than 58,200 meals and snacks, and distributed more than 14,700 relief items such as comfort kits and other relief supplies.
This online story map offers a look at the ongoing response to the California floods; this map is updated as more information and stories from the ground are available.
Supply Distribution Sites: Wednesday, Jan. 25
The Red Cross is out in impacted areas distributing emergency supplies and clean-up kits to help residents recover.
While trained Red Cross volunteers and staff continue to manage the response efforts, we are looking for additional volunteers to help with disaster response and recovery activities, including feeding, supply distribution, clean-up kit building and more. Apply online to become a Red Cross volunteer by visiting tinyurl.com/ARC2023FloodsApplication if you are interested in helping with this response or responses like this in the future.
Statewide Red Cross, County and Partner Shelter Information by County:
Everyone is welcome at a Red Cross shelter. All Red Cross disaster assistance is free.Current list denotes open shelters managed and/or supported by the Red Cross, county or community partners.
Merced County Fairgrounds – Yosemite Hall
900 Martin Luther King Jr Way, Merced, CA 95341.MAP
Blood During Disasters
The Red Cross is working to maintain a stable blood supply amid the threat of storms and winter weather across the country, as severe weather often causes widespread blood drive cancellations. Where it is safe to do so, we encourage donors to make and keep blood donation appointments by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
Help Those in Need
You can help people affected by disasters like floods, fires and countless other crises by making a gift to Red Cross Disaster Relief.Donations for Disaster Relief enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. Visit redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS, or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation..
Stay Up-to-Date on Social Media
Updated information on the Red Cross response to this storm, and preparedness information is continually updated on regional social media channels:
Margot Simpson, Alameda County Volunteer of the Year
By Marcia Antipa
Margot Simpson has responded to hundreds of house and apartment fires in more than a dozen years as a Red Cross volunteer. One of those Disaster Action Team (DAT) calls happened on a summer day at a 12-unit apartment building in Oakland.
“The residents were all standing outside; they were not all friendly with each other, so it was kind of a tense situation.”
Margot acted quickly, rallying her Red Cross trainees to gather information and hand out comfort kits filled with toiletries.
“It got interesting because two of the residents almost came to blows arguing out in front of the building. I had to step up to them and say ‘Look, we’ll leave and nobody gets help if you two don’t stop.’ So they did.”
This information was last updated on Monday October 25, at 11 a.m
In response to evacuation orders in Santa Cruz and San Mateo Counties, and flooding and potential debris flow across the region, regional Red Cross teams mobilized over the weekend to support those in need.
The Red Cross assisted county and local officials to support evacuation centers and overnight emergency shelters in San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties. All evacuation centers and shelters in both counties have now closed.
Central Coast Chapter Volunteer of the Year Megan Erk says love of community led her to the American Red Cross
By Marcia Antipa
“Showing kindness and getting help to people that need it without regard to anything else – that is how I was brought up.”
Megan Erk – the Volunteer of the Year for the Central Coast Chapter – credits her father for inspiring her dedication to the community. He was a military man who brought his daughter along on volunteer projects.
“I kind of grew up in that environment where people just volunteered in the community to help out.”
Now Megan is taking on multiple roles with the American Red Cross. From hurricanes to wildfires, from blood drives to blog articles, Central Coast Chapter CEO Michele Averill says Megan has more than earned her award.
American Red Cross volunteer – and recent transplant to Fairfield – Susan Reese always planned to work with the Red Cross when she retired. When Susan finally retired from the restaurant industry last year, she became a volunteer wildfire associate. While working at a Local Assistance Center (LAC) during the North Complex fires in Yuba City, disaster response leadership called for people to join the feeding team. Susan jumped up, and said, “Feeding is what I love doing!” Just like that, Susan’s first deployment brought everything full circle.
Susan first had contact with the Red Cross in 1997 when she lived in Klamath, California. That year, the Klamath River breeched and flooded the town. Susan says that the entire area “was wiped out.” The Red Cross arrived and began to feed survivors and evacuees by bringing in food from a neighboring city.
If Irene Johnson could live her life to perfection, she would be guided by the Seven Fundamental Principles of the Red Cross: humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity and universality. “The principles really resonated with me. I really do believe in the Red Cross mission,” she said.
Those principles have served Irene well over her many years as a Red Cross volunteer where she’s participated in 26 disaster response deployments including Hurricane Katrina (2005), the Napa/Sonoma New Year’s flood (2006), Superstorm Sandy (2012), the Alberta wildfires (2016) and Hurricane Irma (2017), to name a few.
Irene’s Red Cross career began in Vietnam during the war. Living in Saigon in 1967, Irene volunteered at an army hospital where she would deliver books to bedridden soldiers. She speaks fondly of that first experience. “The guys that were almost well enough to leave would go to the recreation room and taught me how to play pool.”