Red Cross deploys hundreds of disaster relief volunteers
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Hundreds of Red Cross volunteers from the Big Bend and across the country deployed across the state for Hurricane Ian relief efforts.
Early morning preparation included stocking up on water, packing snacks and assembling crews members to make the journey to Central Florida areas impacted most by the storm. Several crews were sent to Jacksonville and Gainesville to set up in shelters, with many of those crew members flying in from out of state over the weekend.
“We already have probably about 700 volunteers on the ground here in Florida, said Red Cross Executive Director Sharon Carraway. “We’ll be deploying more.”
Volunteers swarmed in from places like Washington, California and even Minnesota. Many of them taking time off from work according to Carraway, but all in the name of doing good for others.
David Clayton says after witnessing the selflessness of volunteers helping out during storms in Hawaii he decided to get involved. He’s now been with Red Cross for five years and is leading a team to Central Florida.
“We have people from Beaumont Texas. Some of my crew is from New York, California. That’s what’s great about this organization- everyone comes together for one great cause,” Clayton said.
David Moyers, a retiree from Kansas City packed his car for a trip to Gainesville as well. He said he’d encourage anyone capable of volunteering with Red Cross, to get trained and do it. Despite the unknown when it comes to actually deploying, Moyers reflected on the impact he and hundreds of other volunteers make during times of need, and he says that’s what keeps him coming back.
“I had a young child come up and bring me a thank you card that he had written and drawn a picture on it,” said Moyers. “It’s stuff like that, that touches your heart.”
There were around 15,000 snacks at the Tallahassee Red Cross headquarters Wednesday morning, which were packed into U-hauls and cars along with water. Carraway says they’ll continue getting supplies and distributing them throughout the state as needed. She also encourages people to download the Red Cross emergency app. There you will be able to see where there are shelters open, what you’ll need at the shelters and any available resources in your area.
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