West Virginians head to Texas to volunteer following Hurricane Harvey devastation
CHARLESTON, WV (WCHS/WVAH) —
American Red Cross volunteers from West Virginia are getting ready to head down to Texas to help hurricane victims.
About five million people are seeing the effects of Hurricane Harvey.
"When Hurricane Harvey hit the ground last night, it nearly obliterated the town that it made landfall in and they had 100,000 people, so our shelters already had residents in it last night so we expect we're going to have hundreds of thousands if not millions of people that we're going to be helping,” American Red Cross, West Virginia Regional CEO, Erica Mani said.
Mani says about 900 volunteers are in the disaster areas right now. Seven of them are coming from West Virginia. Michael Reynolds is one of them, and he will be heading out Sunday.
"I’m excited to get down there and work and do some legitimate work that helps people in their everyday lives,” Reynolds said.
It will be Reynolds' first time volunteering in a disaster, and Mani said the American Red Cross expects the need for people like Reynolds to continue to grow.
"On top of that 900 that's already there, another 1,200 are going to be needed,” Mani said.
No original training is needed. You can sign up to be a volunteer, and the American Red Cross will be providing the training needed whether it be in sheltering, feeding or disaster assessment.
"We can do some training in the immediate term and get people turned around and down there within days,” Mani said.
Mani said with 1,400 people in Red Cross shelters, around 150 emergency response vehicles and more on their way, the biggest need is volunteers.
"It shows what's important to us in society and where we've come from, the values that have been instilled into us, and I’m just happy to be involved and to help someone in their greatest needs,” Reynolds said.
If you would like to volunteer with the Red Cross, contact the local chapter or call 1-800-RED-CROSS. You can also sign up on redcross.org.
You can also help by donating. The Red Cross has a fund set up specifically for Hurricane Harvey victims.