YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Northeast Ohio Red Cross volunteers are currently deployed in the area’s hardest hit by Hurricane Matthew. But even with their help, officials from local Red Cross offices say they need more volunteers — and soon.
From the destroyed beaches of Florida to the flooded fields of North Carolina, three dozen people from Northeast Ohio are among the volunteers.
One of those is Jim McIntyre, stationed in North Carolina, where he said “flooding continues to be a major concern.”
He added that the people affected by Hurricane Matthew could be anyone, even your former neighbor.
“She’s from the Canton area and now is in North Carolina,” McIntyre, communications and marketing manager at Red Cross Greater Cleveland, said in a phone call. “Her and her family were at this shelter and she couldn’t be more grateful for the accommodations she was seeing. She had to sleep on a cot and she was grateful for the accommodations because we were able to give her three warm meals a day.”
McIntyre said that as of Tuesday night, the Red Cross had 57 shelters opened in North Carolina holding nearly 4,000 people combined.
“I talked with some of the residences who had taken refuge there because I had heard that people were coming in soaking wet from the chest down,” he said. “And that, indeed, was the case”
So, as the flood waters continue to rise, so do the needs.
Karen Conklin is another Ohioan deployed down south. She said the Red Cross anticipates being on devastation sites until December and said there is “great need” for more help.
“Believe it or not, our greatest need is for people who can deploy for two weeks,” Conklin said. “This is pretty unprecedented for the Red Cross. So what it involves is in-person orientation that’s about four hours. Then you do some online training, and after the online training, you’re going to get deployed to the south to help.”
An orientation meeting will be held Friday from 12:30-4:30 p.m. at the Red Cross Greater Cleveland office. It’s an open session and will be an introduction process on being involved with the Red Cross. You will need a valid drivers licence and your photo will be taken there.
In order to deploy to an affected area, more training on top of this meeting is required. By attending this meeting, it does not mean you are committed to signing up for the Red Cross. Reserve a seat by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or call 216-426-7549.
For even more info, check out the American Red Cross of Greater Cleveland Facebook page.