Tuesday, May 4, 2010

What is Mass Care?

During disaster response one of the main roles of the Red Cross is Mass Care. If you’re not a Red Cross worker, you’re probably thinking “What is Mass Care, anyway?”

Mass Care encompasses many of the Red Cross services including sheltering, the preparation of food, mobile feeding, and bulk distribution. Mobile feeding and bulk distribution are often carried out using the Emergency Response Vehicles (ERVs) often seen in photos and on TV. Specially designed to carry food in “cambros,” (large, plastic, re-sealable containers) the ERVs can carry up to 2,000 pounds of cargo. That’s a lot of food for a lot of people.

ERVs are also used in bulk distribution. Bulk distribution includes the delivery of comfort kits containing toothbrushes and toiletry items, or even clean-up kits containing sponges and bleach to help people clean up after disasters like the recent flooding. Whether it is shampoo or a mop, materials must be collected and distributed by teams of hard-working Red Cross volunteers, all of whom are part of the Mass Care team.

For more information on how you can help with mass care or any other task during a disaster, contact the Louisville Area Chapter at 589-4450 or visit louisville-redcross.org.