By Eric Alves, Regional Communications Specialist, American Red Cross of Northeast Ohio
February 26, 2019 – “Since 1:30 p.m. Sunday, we had no power, no heat and no water. We could see our breath and we had nowhere else to go. This warming center mean a lot. Not only were we given a place to warm up and enjoy food and refreshments, but we were given great support from everyone here,” said Bill and Diane Harasyn, Chardon residents who escaped the cold by visiting an American Red Cross-supported warming center.
Bill and Diane were not alone. As wind gusts reached as high as 60 miles an hour and temperatures plummeted across Northeast Ohio this weekend, thousands of residents lost power and heat in their homes. Throughout the weekend, the Red Cross of Northeast Ohio disaster team monitored the damage and power outage throughout the region. The disaster team also remained in contact with local emergency representatives to determine the need for Red Cross support for warming centers and shelters.
The Red Cross helped support an overnight warming center at the Chardon United Methodist Church on 515 North Street, providing blankets, cots and other materials needed to support residents spending time at the center.
The shelter workers in Chardon also received Red Cross training to help them properly operate an overnight shelter. “While we have operated a warming center three times, this was the first time we operated an overnight shelter,” stated shelter workers Vern and Lynn Kempf. “The Red Cross training we received helped prepare us for what we might expect as well as providing support for overnight residents.”
The Chardon warming center remained open Monday night to provide residents relief from the cold.
The Red Cross is also supporting a warming center at the Solon Community Center on 35000 Portz Parkway, by providing cots and blankets.
The Red Cross also opened and operated an overnight shelter Monday at the Salvation Army on 809 Emmet Avenue NW in New Philadelphia, and at the North Canton United Church of Christ. No residents spent the night in either shelter.
Additionally, the Red Cross responded to several cases regarding to storm-related damage, including the wind damaging and removing the roof of an apartment building in Woodmere and a tree falling on a home in Painesville. Below are photos from the additional response.
You can support our efforts to train volunteers as shelter workers, and to purchase supplies like cots and blankets by making a donation here, or by calling 1-800 RED CROSS.