Hurricane Ike crashed into Gulf shore communities then up through the Midwest — leveling neighborhoods, submerging homes and leaving many families and individuals with nothing except what they brought with them to disaster shelters.

American Red Cross staff are working endlessly to ensure that shelter residents — including children and the elderly — are receiving the food, water and comfort they need while dealing with the changes in their lives caused by Ike’s powerful forces.

There’s also an uplifting spirit of help and camaraderie among Red Cross staff and hurricane victims, such as 13-year-old Raymond McGee from a shelter in San Antonio, Texas. McGee turned from victim to helper. His spirit of lending a hand in the midst of his hardships is inspiring.

The reality is, the Red Cross is still on the ground helping Hurricane Gustav victims on a huge scale. We’ve served more than 2.8 million meals and snacks to those affected by Gustav — while thousands of our workers are serving Ike victims, too.

Would you help today with a gift? We’ve been communicating frequently with the public these past weeks, reporting hurricane updates and asking for support. We’re dealing with certain hard realities of Red Cross disaster relief — Gustav relief and assistance is expected to cost the Red Cross as much as $70 million, but we’ve raised only a fraction of that amount. And now, we know Ike will exceed Gustav’s cost for relief.

All of this while:

» This hurricane relief may continue as a very large, lengthy relief operation stretching into the coming months.

» We’re just half-way through the hurricane season and Hurricanes Dolly, Fay, Hanna, Gustav and Ike have taken their toll on the country and on the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.

Thanks for your consideration. Hurricane relief is badly needed. Any amount you can afford today would be appreciated.

Joe Becker
Senior vice president, American Red Cross