Elsewhere online
August 23, 2016

Red Cross Flood Response in La. Raises Volunteers’ Ire

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards’s office said the state may “re-evaluate” its partnership with the American Red Cross following complaints from people attempting to volunteer and donate materials for flood victims, according to The Advocate.

Volunteers’ comments to the Baton Rouge newspaper echoed claims on social media that the charity was turning away offers to help at shelters or provide meals and medical materials for people displaced by the disaster. The Red Cross is managing or assisting at 19 shelters and said it had served about 250,000 meals and snacks since launching its relief effort a week ago.

Red Cross spokeswoman Nancy Malone said some frustrated volunteers were confusing the charity with local partner groups and that there were liabilities to accepting cooked food that did not come from certified vendors. "It has to be about coordination. We are held accountable to state regulations," she said.

“We recognize the enormous task the Red Cross undertakes to help, and we are tremendously grateful to the many volunteers who jumped to our aid in the aftermath of this historic flooding. However, the governor has expressed several concerns with the Red Cross’s response to this storm," said Richard Carbo, a spokesman for Mr. Edwards. "Going forward, the state intends to reevaluate its partnership with the Red Cross to ensure displaced citizens of any future disaster receive the best support possible.”

Read a Chronicle of Philanthropy article on fundraising for the Louisiana flood emergency.