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Monday, October 7, 2013

Neighbor Helping Neighbor with the American Red Cross

Story and photos by Jordan Scott

Volunteer Alison Shaffer holds onto 5 month old Azaria and
looks on as Azaria's parents pick up relief supplies at Our
Lady of Peace Parish.
It was more rain than she had ever seen. Coming down in torrents, the rain pounded the town of Eaton as it did much of the rest of Colorado. Fortunately, for Alison Shaffer, her home was out of danger from rising waters.

As the storms continued, waters quickly reached historic levels. Soon mud and debris broke free of the riverbanks and carved new paths as they came crashing through neighborhoods that could never have expected such devastation.

With images of washed out homes and neighborhoods filling the nightly news, and knowing so many lives had been changed forever, Alison wanted to do something. She wanted to help.

As soon as the skies cleared, Alison drove south to the town of Greeley and found the American Red Cross distributing food and supplies to impacted residents at one of many Disaster Assistance Centers that had been set up near the flood zones.

“I offered my help and within 24 hours I was with a team out in these neighborhoods trying to help the people who had lost everything,” she said.

Volunteers Susan Liva (left) and Alison Shaffer provide
assistance during Red Cross outreach at Our Lady of Peace
Parish in Greeley, CO. Alison joined the Red Cross following
the devastating September floods. Susan is fluent in English
and Spanish and came to this outreach event to serve as an
interpreter. She signed up as a Red Cross volunteer that day!
And help she has. From providing food and water, to connecting residents with recovery services, to handing out clean up supplies, Alison has accomplished quite a lot in her short time as a Red Cross volunteer.

“This is incredible. You really don’t realize how much is involved until you’re in the middle of it.”

Most recently, Alison found herself at Our Lady of Peace Parish in Greeley where dozens of Red Cross volunteers spent the day providing truckloads of relief supplies to the local affected population. As parents came through to pick up goods and load vehicles, Alison spent time keeping their children entertained with crayons and coloring materials.

With the kids happy and families stocked up with needed materials, Alison took a moment to reflect on what this experience has meant to her.

“It’s so great to see this kind of help here, it’s amazing. I’ve met so many incredible people and will come away with so many lifelong friends.”

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