Action Pathways & the American Red Cross: Partnering Together in Disaster Situations

American Red Cross Logo.jpgLast month, a Fayetteville family of two was displaced and left with barely anything after a grease fire damaged their home. The home, which was one of the units in Action Pathways’ affordable housing program, was severely damaged by fire and smoke, leaving the family at a loss; however, thanks to the American Red Cross’ mission, temporary housing was provided immediately along with much-needed items such as food and clothing.

“They were very appreciative and could not stop saying ‘Thank you,’” explained Lois Croxton, American Red Cross Volunteer and Caseworker. “They were left with nothing, but we were able to provide them with immediate monetary assistance and a little comfort by way of toothbrushes and toothpaste, combs and brushes and deodorant, among other necessities.”

This isn’t the first time the Sandhills Chapter of the American Red Cross and Action Pathways have partnered together during disaster situations. Earlier this summer, both nonprofit organizations joined forces to help those in need after a series of treacherous thunderstorms and tornadoes struck Sampson County.

DSC_1103 Resized for Website.jpg“We are extremely grateful to have community partners, such as Action Pathways, help us when disaster strikes,” said Phil Harris, Executive Director of the American Red Cross of the Sandhills. “After the storms in Sampson County, Action Pathways and its Second Harvest Food Bank were immediately available, deploying their Mobile Food Pantry to help those in need.”

“We didn’t give it a second thought, after the Sampson County storms, to go out and assist with the American Red Cross’ efforts,” added Ron Pringle, Program Director with Second Harvest Food Bank. “Our mission is to serve those who need it the most, and at that point in time, Sampson County residents definitely needed our help, and we were more than happy to assist.”

“This is definitely a mutually beneficial partnership,” Cynthia Wilson, Chief Executive Officer of Action Pathways, explained. “As an agency, we are thankful for the Red Cross and what it does to help us better serve the community at large. For example, our Weatherization Program has had much success with its Smoke Detector Program thanks to the donations of the American Red Cross.”

The American Red Cross currently donates hundreds of smoke detectors each year to Action Pathways that are installed by the Weatherization Team to prevent the loss of property but more so to save lives.

“Working together with Action Pathways, we are better able to maximize and leverage our efforts to prevent disasters but also to help once disaster strikes,” added Harris. “Ultimately, we have the opportunity to connect with more individuals and families and serve those who need it the most.”

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Harris continued, “We’re also beginning to look into ways Action Pathways and the American Red Cross can launch new programs together that will help our community. We’ve already looked at beginning a ‘Pillowcase Project’ focused on helping young children be prepared with the essentials they might need – all in a pillowcase – just in case a catastrophic event were to occur.”

“The ‘Pillowcase Project’ is a perfect program to collaborate on with the American Red Cross,” said Wilson. “Each year, through the Action Pathways Head Start program, we service approximately 1,000 children – all who could benefit from a partnership such as this one. What another great way to positively touch the lives of those in our community.”

Action Pathways and the American Red Cross of the Sandhills looks forward to continuing to assist those individuals and families that are in need, especially those who are affected by a disaster. Together – through a shared partnership – the community benefits most of all.

For more information on the American Red Cross of the Sandhills, contact (910) 867-8151 or visit their website here.

You can also learn more about Action Pathways by calling (910) 485-6131 or checking out: actionpathways.ngo.

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