American Red Cross: How you can volunteer to help Harvey relief efforts

American Red Cross looking for volunteers, can offer training

Financial donations are critical in helping those impacted by Harvey.

At the Red Cross, it costs about $1600 to deploy just one volunteer to a disaster area. That cost, as well as the supplies and provisions they provide survivors, are where your money goes. But they also need more volunteers.

Whenever there's a disaster, look for the helpers. Many of them will have that familiar Red Cross. More than two dozen Northeast Ohio disaster volunteers packed up and headed south to help those hit by Harvey. They'll spend a minimum of two weeks in mostly miserable conditions. But they provide comfort and hope to those who need it most. 

"People are going to be stressed to the maximum amount," says Northeastern Ohio Red Cross Regional CEO Michael Parks. "Many of them have lost everything."

While financial help is greatly needed, so are additional volunteers. Training is provided and much of it focuses on compassion and empathy. "We spend a lot of time learning how to treat people in shelters," Parks adds.

Ideal candidates are those with backgrounds as:

  • Emergency responders
  • Medical professionals
  • Mental health professionals
  • Social workers

Volunteers wanting to go to Houston must be healthy and physically capable to deal with long, strenuous hours in adverse conditions. 

If you don't have the time to volunteer or the money to send, there is something you can do. Donate blood because nowhere in the Houston area are they collecting right now and Northeast Ohio is in the midst of a blood shortage.

Harvey is far from over and recovery will take months. 

"This is actually giving us some time to get people trained because we're going to be there for a long time," says Parks. "And the Red Cross isn't leaving while people still need help."

So if you think you have what it takes to be a Red Cross volunteer, call 216-431-3328 or send an email to NEOVolunteer@RedCross.org.

Depending on your capability and background, some could be trained this week or next and leave soon after. For those who can't travel to Houston, remember, every day in Northeast Ohio, three families lose a home to fire. The Red Cross volunteers respond to those too, and they need to replace those personnel sent to Texas.

© 2017 WKYC-TV


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