Ways to Help Avoid a Drought this Summer


Just a few weeks ago we were cranking up our heaters, but now we are tucking away our pea coats and winter sweaters because spring has sprung! As we gear up for another hot Georgia summer, we should all be careful about how we use our water. Georgia is famous for its arid months and these can become dangerous. With dry air and plants, fires can catch quickly making house fires a real threat. By conserving now, you can help reduce the chances of a major drought this summer, not to mention save a little money on your water bill.

Implement these easy tips in YOUR home:

Cook Smart

Clean vegetables in a pan filled with water rather than running water from the tap. Re-use the water that vegetables are washed in for cleaning or watering plants.

Upgrade your Appliances

Replace your showerhead and lawn hose with an ultra-low-flow version or if you’re willing to make a bigger purchase, try an energy efficient washer and dryer

Cut your lawn some slack

Raise the lawn mower blade to at least three inches, or to its highest level. A higher cut encourages grass roots to grow deeper, shades the root system, and holds soil moisture.

Plant native and/or drought-tolerant grasses, ground covers, shrubs and trees.

Repair Leaks

Repair dripping faucets by replacing washers. One drop per second wastes 2,700 gallons of water per year!

When you are certain that no water is being used in your home, take a reading of the water meter. Wait 30 minutes and then take a second reading. If the meter reading changes, you have a leak!

We will be following these guidelines at the Chapter House. Which ones will you use at your own home? 

– Shelby Rudd


Spreading Hope and Love to the Homeless of Athens

This past Sunday, March 25, the American Red Cross East Georgia Chapter spread hope and generosity to the homeless of the Athens-Clarke County area. The chapter teamed up with Athens PB&J, a local homeless outreach, and provided bagged lunches with delicious peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Volunteers met in downtown Athens at 2 p.m. on Sunday where they got to visit and have meaningful conversations with the homeless of the area.

Because of events like this past Sunday, the East Georgia Chapter makes recognizes the importance and value of spending time out in the community. Not only is it important to serve the community, but it is also important to interact with all residents regardless of their socio-economic status. There is something quite special about helping those less fortunate than yourself.

Next time you hear of an event with the East Georgia Chapter, do yourself a favor and try to volunteer an hour of your time to helping those in need. The Red Cross aims to help, serve and interact with all residents of a community, and in its spirit, it is time for local citizens and even students to join in on the relief and humanitarian efforts. Today is a day you can make a difference in your community that will last longer than you could ever imagine. For more information about upcoming events, please visit the chapter’s website, fan us on Facebook or follow our Twitter feed. On behalf of the chapter, we welcome you to join us!

By Helen Farmakis, Public Affairs Team

Behind the Scenes with Community Education

The American Red Cross East Georgia Chapter community education team has been very hard at work. Most Mondays, the community education interns load up the available Red Cross mode of transportation for the day and hit the road to educate the youth on disaster preparation and safety tips throughout the chapter’s counties. On one particular Monday, the group of interns gave us a behind-the-scenes look at what they do every day.
After meeting at the chapter house early in the morning, the group then headed out with smiles and determination knowing that they were on the road to help spread the Red Cross’ mission of staying prepared and helping save lives.

The interns are guided by the American Red Cross Masters of Disaster® curriculum, a series of ready-to-go lesson plans that help organizations educate youth about important disaster safety and preparedness. The lesson plans engage students with fun activities such as songs, experiments and games. The Masters of Disaster® lesson plans cover numerous safety and prevention topics including:

  • Preparing for a disaster
  • Coping with tough issues like terrorism, war and pandemic flu
  • Recovering and rebuilding from a disaster
  • Preventing injuries that happen at home
  • Earthquakes
  • Fire Prevention and Safety
  • Floods
  • Hurricanes
  • Lightning
  • Tornadoes
  • Wildland Fires
There are two groups within the community education team at the East Georgia Chapter. One team focuses on fire prevention and safety while the other team focuses on tornado preparedness and general precautionary measures.  
So far, the team has already visited four schools in Stephens, Morgan and Jackson counties. Some days, team members do up to four presentations just at one school. The presentations are directed for students anywhere from pre-K to 5th grade. The team  plans to visit at least three more schools including Oglethorpe County.
James Connolly, community education intern with the East Georgia Chapter, enjoys the challenge the internship presents, saying, “I have never gotten the opportunity to actually go into the community and educate people about a topic. It is really great to interact with the kids all the while knowing that you are making a difference.” James continues, “Not only will they be well-informed about it, but they also then have the tools to teach others. Although the process of getting the information to the community can be difficult at times, it is definitely worth it in the end.“

Children are never too young to learn about disaster safety and prevention. The American Red Cross does everything it can to help educate the youth in the surrounding areas of each chapter . The Red Cross East Georgia Chapter is grateful for all the hard work and effort that its interns do on a daily basis. Noting all of their hard work is another wonderful reason to celebrate Red Cross month!
– Mary Elaine

Red Cross Month: Tell Your Story!

In celebration of Red Cross Month, the American Red Cross East Georgia Chapter invites those who have been impacted by the American Red Cross to share their personal stories. This month is dedicated to the millions of people who contribute selflessly to the cause as well as those who have been touched by this generosity. With all of the great efforts made by helping hands from local communities, what better way to celebrate Red Cross Month than by sharing the differences made by these efforts? 





One of the American Red Cross East Georgia Chapter interns shares her story of how the American Red Cross changed her life. She will never forget the support her family received during a difficult time.

“I learned the value of the American Red Cross at the early age of seven. I was sitting in the family room of our house when my mother frantically yelled for me and my younger brother to get out, as a fire had started in one of the upstairs rooms. We watched my house burn down that day, an experience that far too many people share and remember forever.While my family had the resources to find shelter and food in the following days, the emotional support and comfort provided by the Red Cross made a world of difference in the way in which my family moved on from that traumatic event. The knowledge that an organization existed with the very purpose of supporting us, regardless of whether or not we “needed” it, is something I know my mother and father still feel grateful for today. They knew that there were trained, knowledgeable, and compassionate people from whom they could request help if needed, which kept them from feeling completely dependent upon themselves, their friends, and their family. I know this removed a great burden from my parents’ shoulders, and helped them focus their energy on taking care of my brother and me in the immediate aftermath of losing our home. I am so grateful.”

Be a part of the celebration, and tell your story! The American Red Cross East Georgia Chapter is excited to hear some amazing stories about the individuals that have been touched and the lives that have been changed by the American Red Cross.

– Jessica Wu

Red Cross in the News

In case you missed it, here is the recent article the Athens Banner Herald wrote about the East Georgia Chapter and March is Red Cross Month. Executive Director, Jeff Taylor spoke to the newspaper about the many great services our chapter offers as well as the great need for blood donations in the area. Read the piece and the next time you pass a donation center consider being a hero by donating blood. For more information on how to donate, visit our website.

Read the online article.

– Amanda Keuler

Be Prepared with Tornado Safety Tips

The weather can be unpredictable and can lead to many dangerous situations. The recent tornadoes that swept over the South and Midwest, leaving more than three dozen people dead, is one unpredictable example.

“The 2012 tornado season is off to an early start,” according to the Washington Post and some basic tornado guidelines can help make sure that you and your family are doing everything you can to stay safe.

The first step is to understand the difference between a tornado watch and a tornado warning. A tornado watch means that a tornado is possible in and around the area that is being watched, while a tornado warning means that a “tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar” and you should immediately seek shelter.

Some common signs that a tornado is approaching include: dark, often greenish clouds, cloud of debris, large hail, a funnel (a visible rotating extension of the cloud base) or wall (an isolated lowering of the base of a thunderstorm), clouds and roaring noise.

If a tornado warning has been issued for your area, seek shelter underground immediately. If an underground shelter is not available, the next best alternative is a small room or hallway without any windows on the lowest level of your home. Shelter in a mobile home is not safe and seeking shelter elsewhere is strongly advised.

After a storm has passed, make sure to listen to the news for the most updated information, report fallen power lines or broken gas lines to the utility company immediately, use flashlights instead of candles when examining any buildings, take pictures of any damages and clean up any fire hazard material that has spilled.

Most importantly, don’t wait until it is too late to seek shelter. Designate a safe place for your family ahead of time and make sure to know your community’s warning system.

To learn more, visit the American Red Cross website at www.redcross.org for a more complete checklist on tornado safety.

Additional information used in this post was also provided by the Washington Post. Review their full article here.

– Nina Kamber

Red Cross Relief Efforts Continue in Georgia and Other States Following Week of Tornado Outbreaks

Red Cross Relief Efforts Continue in Georgia and Other States Following Week of Tornado Outbreaks

Athens, GA Monday, March 5, 2012 – As Georgians joined their neighbors across the South and Midwest in tallying this week’s widespread tornado damage, Red Cross chapters in more than a dozen states were hard at work in their communities, providing shelter, food and emotional support.

Red Cross damage assessment teams in Georgia worked with community partners to discover the full scope of the damage in counties impacted by this past Friday’s storms. Paulding County was hit hardest by the storms, with 85 homes affected. The Red Cross provided needed water and snacks in affected neighborhoods where clean-up efforts had begun. So far, seven families in Paulding and Fulton counties have turned to Red Cross for help with lodging, food and other basic necessities.

“Our hearts go out to everyone who has been affected by this week’s severe storms,” said Charley Shimanski, senior vice president of Disaster Services for the American Red Cross. “Our top priorities right now are making sure people have a safe place to stay, a warm meal and a shoulder to lean on as they begin to clean up their neighborhoods. The Red Cross is also working closely with our government and community partners to make sure everyone gets the help they need.”

The Red Cross has monitored severe weather in South Georgia throughout the recent events and has trained disaster volunteers from across the state to work stand-by shifts in case of a need. Damage to homes is now reported in northern Lowndes and Lanier counties and the Red Cross is working with local emergency management agencies to ensure that residents have a safe place to sleep.  People can find Red Cross shelters open throughout the country by contacting local emergency officials, visiting http://www.redcross.org or calling 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767). iPhone users can download a free Red Cross Shelter View app at http://apps.usa.gov/american-red-cross-shelter-view.

Those affected can let loved ones know they are safe by registering on the secure website, Red Cross Safe and Well, http://safeandwell.communityos.org/cms/index.php, where they can also update their Facebook and Twitter statuses to alert friends and family. Affected residents can also register by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). For those outside the disaster area, use Red Cross Safe and Well to find information about loved ones in the affected areas by using a phone number or local address. Smart phone users can visit http://www.redcross.org/safeandwell and click on the “List Yourself as Safe and Well” or “Search for Friends and Family” link.

If you or someone you know would like to help those affected by natural disasters, donations in support of the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Services are greatly appreciated. Please visit http://www.redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent directly to the East Georgia Chapter of the American Red Cross at 490 Pulaski Street Athens, GA 30601 or by calling 706-353-1645.  

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies more than 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit http://www.redcross.org.