Earlier this year, a donation was announced by the Otto Bremer Foundation that resulted in the purchase of several trailers that would be available in a crisis situation.
The $76,000 grant to the Southern Minnesota Region of the American Red Cross allowed for the purchase of those trailers that would be loaded with items needed in an emergency.
Among those benefitting from the grant with the use of a trailer was the Redwood/Renville Chapter, and in late October that trailer was made ready to respond when the call comes.
According to Barb Billmeier of the Red Cross, the trailer arrived, and when it was opened the items inside were disorganized. That meant finding a group which could help get those things that were donated with the trailer placed in a such a way that the trailer could be ready.
Through a program known as “We Day,” students at RVMS spent part of their day Sept. 24 going through the myriad items in that trailer and putting them into order.
That was no small task.
The trailer is filled with things, including 50 cots and subsequent blankets.
There are also towel kits that can serve up to 50 people with additional items, such as cups, plates, bowls and napkins that can serve those same 50 people.
The trailer comes at just the right time, as the Red Cross has announced budget cuts have forced the consolidation of the region.
Disaster reengineering and a need to cut $135,000 from its budget has led to the decision to close the office in Olivia that has been serving the Redwood and Renville counties area.
Now, said Billmeier, the trailer is going to serve as the mobile office for the area. While the office may be closed, volunteers are going to continue to serve the area when there is a need. The trailer is also being placed in the area.
In the past year, the local Red Cross chapter has responded to a number of calls in the area. One may recall there was also a fire at the Olivia Red Cross office in September 2012.
For more about the Red Cross, visit its Web site at www.redcross.org.