Red Cross needing volunteers
Published 3:00 am Wednesday, August 5, 2015
The American Red Cross is low on volunteers in Pike County and is seeking to build up the numbers.
According to Lauren White, volunteer associate for central and east Alabama, the American Red Cross responds to approximately 70,000 disasters in the country. Disasters include home fires, hurricanes, etc. or a man-made disaster such as a shooting.
“We are trying to beef up our volunteers,” White said. “In Pike County right now, we have a few volunteers that are students at Troy University, but they are only here for a short period of time. When they leave, they are gone.”
At this time, if a house fire occurred in Pike County, there are no volunteers to respond to those people in need. Volunteers from surrounding counties are having to come to Pike County and assist them. White said bringing outside volunteers always takes too long, and that is not what is wanted.
“We want to provide relief to them as soon as possible,” she said.
Those who volunteer for the American Red Cross are considered “disaster relief volunteers.” For example, for a house fire, volunteers would assist the ones affected with finding shelter. They would put them in a hotel or open a shelter for a large number of people.
Volunteers also work to feed those affected by disasters. The American Red Cross partners with local restaurants in order to get food to those people, or they provide funds so they can feed themselves. They also make sure that people are provided with their normal prescriptions.
“Think about everything in your house right now at this moment,” White said. “Imagine if you’ve locked your keys and you can’t get in there at this very moment. Think if you’ve lost your keys forever and everything in your house is gone and you can never get it back. How can you think about what you are going to eat tonight or where you are going to stay tonight when you’ve just lost everything.”
White expressed that the goal of the American Red Cross and the volunteers is to “help people get their lives back to normal.”
“In the Wiregrass region, last year we responded to about 600 disasters,” White said. “That covers about seven counties. There is definitely a need for volunteers.”
White said that at least 10 volunteers are needed, but there is no maximum. There are zero volunteers listed for Pike County right now.
Volunteers must undergo training before assisting with disaster relief. Most of the training is online, but some is hands-on.
White said that anyone who volunteers will not be required to respond to disasters until he/she is fully comfortable.
Volunteers must be 18 years old or older, and schedules are not an issue.
“We are flexible with your schedule,” White said. “If you work 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., you can do it when you’re able.”
To become a volunteer or for more information, contact Lauren White by calling 260-4023 or visit redcross.org/alabama and visit the link that says “become a volunteer.”