Red Cross to the rescue!

Rebecca Neipp

News Review Staff Writer

Red Cross to the rescue!The Red Cross is about to serve lunch to anyone impacted by the recent earthquakes. Volunteers cooked up a hot meal, courtesy of Salvation Army and the Murray Middle School kitchen, and are about to open the doors of the Kerr McGee Center to anyone who is hungry.

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“Shortly after the 6.4 earthquake on July 4, we opened up the shelter to service the community, for people who either had damage to their home, or didn’t feel comfortable at home,” said Mimi Teller, public affairs officer with the Red Cross.

To accommodate those in unliveable shelters — or who were dealing with power outages, gas leaks and broken water mains, the Red Cross opened up the Kerr McGee Center to provide air-conditioning, cots and blankets, hot showers and now hot meals, courtesy of their partners at the Salvation Army.

As on 9 a.m. on Sunday, July 7, 466 people had registered for services with the Red Cross. The population last night inside the shelter was 103, outside the shelter was 43.

The Red Cross Natural Response Team was also joined by health care officials with Kern County, who are on hand to provide medical and mental health support.

“We are not seeing any major injuries for the most part,” said Teller. “We saw cuts and bruises immediately following the earthquake. Now it’s more of a mental support service.”

Staff and volunteers have already seen the difference this has made to people in need,” she said. “Validating their fears and concerns is the first step, and then empowering them with the tools to move forward are the main ingredients.”

Who is eligible for service?

“Everybody — absolutely everybody — is welcome at the Red Cross shelter. And everybody is safe here.”

In addition to their current level of support, Teller said that help for damage assessments and other recovery resources will be coming soon.

“The city is holding a press conference today at 4 p.m., and I encourage anyone from the community to be here.” Those resources are anticipated to be available starting tomorrow.

“I also hope that people take this as a wakeup call, if they have not already prepared for events like this,” said Teller. “We ask that they make sure they have water and food and their go-kits.”

More information about go-kits and other preparedness is available at redcross.org.

“We always welcome anyone who wants to be what we call an event-based volunteer. We do have a large staff here, but anyone who wants to help can come check in and we’ll put them to work.”

Pictured are Red Cross Public Affairs Officer Mimi Teller (left), chatting with another Red Cross staffer and a firefighter from Kern County Fire Station 74 at the Kerr McGee Center staging area.

Story First Published: 2019-07-06