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Working Together in the Face of Natural Disasters

January 09, 2014

By: Michelle Kates, American Red Cross

Working Together in the Face of Natural Disasters

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Immediately, the Red Cross responded, opening shelters and serving hot meals. To date, in Indiana and Illinois, the Red Cross has served more than 110,000 meals and snacks, provided more than 330 overnight stays in shelters, handed out nearly 33,000 relief items such as cleanup kits, and provided nearly 3,500 health and mental health contacts in the aftermath of these storms.

The American Red Cross is proud to have Darden Restaurants as a partner in so many communities around the country for when disasters like these strike. Since 2010, Darden Restaurants has been a member of our premiere corporate and foundation giving program, known as the Annual Disaster Giving Program (ADGP).  Darden Restaurants donates not just cash but also meals to feed Red Cross shelter clients, staff and volunteers during major disasters in impacted communities.

The distinguished corporate members of the Red Cross Annual Disaster Giving Program (ADGP) enable us to respond immediately to the needs of individuals and families impacted by disaster anywhere in the United States, regardless of cost. We do so by helping to build a reliable funding base for disaster relief services. Generous gifts from ADGP members help us offset a range of expenses, including warehousing supplies, shelter and feeding costs, deploying the fleet of disaster response vehicles and reconnecting individuals separated during disasters.

The American Red Cross' mission, which is to prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors, is well aligned with Darden Restaurants' goal to have an enduring and positive influence on the communities it serves. The Red Cross relies on generous donations of time, money and resources to do its work. Corporate partners, like Darden Restaurants, help make our work possible.

Paducah, Kentucky, Red Lobster General Manager Edgar Rodriguez recently exemplified what the partnership between Darden Restaurants and the Red Cross can accomplish, when he jumped in to help on site in the aftermath of the Midwest Tornadoes. Read below as he shares his experience donating food to the many relief workers and volunteers.

"Working with the Red Cross in Brookport, Iillinois, yesterday was one of the most fulfilling things that I have ever done in my life!  Being able to take part in the recovery effort was wonderful.  My team worked together to prepare, cook, pack then load the food and desserts. A couple of our staff even got teary-eyed with emotion from what they were doing.

The relief workers and families were so grateful for our services! We offered them choices of different entrees, sides, salad and desserts.  They were all floored!

In all, we served about 150 people at lunch and I shook each and every single hand!  Many of them mentioned how they will always remember how Red Lobster went out of its way to help those in need.  That in itself makes it all worth it.  Despite the devastation that you see in the photographs, the community is strong and persevering."

For more information about the American Red Cross and how you can get involved, please visitwww.redcross.org.

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