By: Maria Lobron
PHILADELPHIA – In anticipation of the Pope’s visit to Philly this weekend, the American Red Cross is very busy. Staff and volunteers are setting up first aid tents and reunification stations for families and friends that may get separated in the large crowds expected throughout Philadelphia this weekend.
Red Cross volunteers will be a huge part of keeping everyone safe. Volunteer and Chaplin Thomas Kadel commented that he has had a great experience staying in the city and helping out so far. Overall, this is an exciting time for everyone in Philly, but it can be a lot for someone that has never been here.
And for some, being in such a crowded area can also be an overwhelming experience. Here are some tips for coping with the crowds during the Papal visit:
- Wear comfortable shoes. You will be doing a lot of walking since many of the streets in Philadelphia are blocked off. Wear sneakers or worn in but durable shoes.
- Be respectful of everyone else’s space. There will be a lot of people in a confined area. Make sure not to push or squash anyone. Also, be aware of your surroundings. If you feel overwhelmed, go to a more open space with less people. If you are feeling ill, find one of the many first aid/medical tents set up throughout the city. Medical tents can provide snacks and water.
- Bring only clear bags or small purses. There will be security checkpoints throughout the city. Officials have asked that you only have clear bags or small purses to speed the security screening process along.
- Keep this phone number handy: 1-855-259-2114. If you or a loved one get separated, call the toll free number or go to a Red Cross station and ask a Red Cross official for help. We’ll help you get reconnected.
- Drink plenty of water. It is important that you stay hydrated, especially when there are large crowds and you are outdoors for long periods of time.
- Bring your own food. You don’t know the next time you are going to be able to find something to eat. Bring food that is light and easy to carry like granola bars, fruit, or candy bars to keep your body nourished.
And don’t forget to have fun and enjoy the overall experience. For many it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. There will be people from all over the world here to celebrate the Pope’s first visit to the United States. Let’s give them all a warm Philly welcome!