Heart of Texas Red Cross to deploy volunteers to assist with Hurricane Ida relief

Volunteer opportunities are available in person and online
Published: Sep. 2, 2021 at 5:22 PM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - Hurricane Ida will go down in the record book as one of the strongest storms to ever make landfall in Louisiana. The devastating Category 4 hurricane left millions without power, businesses and homes destroyed, and many without food, water, and necessities.

Volunteers with the local chapter of the American Red Cross are preparing to make the trip to some of the hard-hit areas to help with the relief efforts. Crews are set to leave for New Orleans on Saturday and stay on the ground for at least a week, staffing shelters and feeding centers. Volunteers are also key in providing support to evacuees with tasks like replacing medications, eyeglasses, and other medical necessities that may have been left behind.

Red Cross officials are looking for volunteers that have the heart to serve, are ready to roll up their sleeves, and are willing to work in difficult circumstances. Volunteers will receive training prior to deployment. Transportation, shelter and food will be provided while on the ground.

“We are working hard to recruit and fill positions that are needed really all around the country. But right now, especially with Hurricane Ida out on the ground in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and in Texas,” said A.J. Renold, Heart of Texas Chapter American Red Cross Executive Director.

“We’re in need of many different types of volunteers. We need communications people, government operations people that know incident command systems and how to work with government officials and emergency managers,” said Renold. “We need people in our warehouses running logistics and getting water and food to our shelters and feeding centers. We need people who can work in finances. It’s basically a huge operation run by volunteers for the most part.”

Volunteers can also help virtually by answering phone calls and providing logistical support.

“That’s one great thing about the Red Cross. We have transitioned for the most part to be online, and we work in Microsoft teams. So to be a virtual volunteer, one example would be our casework volunteers,” said Renold. “Our casework volunteers receive training, a curriculum of training. Most of it is online, and they are answering the calls from people that are calling 1800 RED CROSS.

“They’re trained to navigate how to get help for people, how to get them registered into our system so that we can get them on their way to recovery,” said Renold. “That’s all done virtually from your home.”

College Station resident Jim Collins is a virtual volunteer and says helping remotely allows him the opportunity to contribute to relief efforts while keeping socially distant.

“It provides a lot of people like myself who are a little older and a little bit leery about going out being exposed to COVID be able to do something productive from home and help support the mission, support the people that were affected by this disaster,” said Collins.

If you would like to learn more about volunteer opportunities, click here. or call 979-776-8279

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