Need for Disaster Response Volunteers More Critical than Ever
|Southeast Tennessee Red Cross volunteers Steven Drye, Jenny Thompson and Mike Freeman are headed to Baton Rouge to support shelters.|
While residents in Louisiana and Mississippi brace for more rain as the potential tropical storm builds up strength offshore, American Red Cross volunteers in Tennessee are once again answering the call to help. Eleven volunteers and Red Cross staff from the Volunteer State are being deployed this week.
“We are entering our hurricane response much earlier this year,” said Joel Sullivan, the regional executive for the American Red Cross of the Tennessee Region. “Our Tennessee team is on alert and we are currently recruiting volunteers and staff members who will respond to what may soon be Hurricane Barry.” Responders are deploying from several chapters across the state.
“Our initial response will be to go to Louisiana until the storm forms and we see where the flooding and damage will be,” he added. Flood waters have already reached New Orleans. “Flooding will definitely be an issue as some areas affected are expected to receive more than two feet of rain over a three-day period, and the ground is already saturated.”
It has already been a very busy year for the Red Cross. Volunteers have supported victims following the March floods in Tennessee and then again in May when 500 tornadoes swept through the Midwest in just 30 days — an average of 20 tornadoes every day. Through it all, Tennessee Red Cross volunteers responded. However, the last six months have been taxing on manpower and financial resources for the humanitarian organization.
“We need to recruit more volunteers and find donors who are willing to help people through their work and support, the time is critical now,” Sullivan said. The executive himself just returned a few weeks ago from spending two weeks in Arkansas following flooding there. “Our volunteers and staff have a big job to do this upcoming storm season. However, our call to serve isn’t just during hurricane season, it is 365 days a year. Whether it is helping provide support to victims of home fires or providing humanitarian aid abroad. Our disaster mission is simple. We must get victims what they need, when they need it, where they need it.”
If you would like to find out how you can help the American Red Cross of the Tennessee Region as a volunteer or through donations, go to RedCross.org/Tennessee.