Red Cross offers relief for evacuees - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Red Cross offers relief for evacuees

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August 30, 2005

Albany, GA-- It's no five-star hotel but it is a home away from home.

The American Red Cross is setting up a temporary motel for some special guests to South Georgia. "Tonight we're not really expecting a great deal of people to come in but we'll be here all night," says Disaster Relief Aid Curtis Randall.

Eventually, they expect guests from Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama. Disaster Relief Aid Curtis Randall is working hard. "You see I'm sweating," says Randall.

He's hard at work providing a bed turndown service for guests. "Basically what we're doing now is setting up the cots," says Randall. The cots are for the many folks currently displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Many sought refuge in South Georgia's hotels and motels.

"Some of the folks who have evacuated from Mississippi, parts of Alabama and Louisiana and have been staying in hotels have discovered they're not going to be going home as early as they had hoped," says Disaster Services Director Daniel Churchman.

Many evacuees expected to head home after two to three days but devastation in their hometowns may have them waiting it out for weeks. "They're starting to get to the end of their money so the Red Cross is going to open up a shelter so they'll have somewhere safe to stay until they can return home," says Churchman.

Until they return home, this will be their refuge. "It becomes as nice an experience as it can be, being away from home," says Churchman. The Red Cross staff is making sure guests have the comforts of home. "Moisturizing lotion, cocoa butter, deodorant, soap," says Randall.

It's not a fancy hotel but it has its rewards for workers. "It feels like you're giving something back," says Randall. For families, it's a free place to stay with up to 250 vacancies.

The shelter is at the Henderson Community Center at 701 Willard Avenue. For information or if you want to train to be a volunteer, contact the Southwest Georgia chapter of the Red Cross at 229-436-4845.

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