The American Red Cross Connecticut Region is contacting volunteers willing to deploy to support Red Cross relief efforts in Alabama where many communities were devastated by damaging storms and tornadoes on Wednesday.
"We are contacting our registered volunteers to determine availability and are beginning to assign them to fill spots requested by the American National Red Cross to support the work of sheltering, feeding and counseling people affected by the storms," said American Red Cross spokesperson Paul Shipman.
People in more than half the country are seeking help from the American Red Cross as a record tornado season continues to devastate communities and serious flooding looms in parts of the Midwest, Shipman said. "Right now, Red Cross volunteers and staff are working in communities across much of the country to help many thousands of people to cope with and recover from these disasters. Our volunteers will help to meet these needs."
Shipman said that local Red Cross volunteers deploy to other areas of the nation when they can help by adding needed workforce numbers and by lending their expertise. "Many of our volunteers have experience in areas such as mental health counseling, shelter management, operations management, client casework or other functions vital to Red Cross relief work." That experience helps ensure an effective response by the Red Cross, Shipman said. "It also means that, when they return to Connecticut, they have even more experience to add to their skill in responding to local emergencies."
Shipman said that the American Red Cross Connecticut Region is focusing its recruitment efforts on its volunteers trained in client services, particularly health services. "These volunteers will be able to work with clients to provide emotional support and to make referrals to appropriate providers if there are other medical needs."
Shipman noted that the Red Cross deploys trained, registered volunteers. "We train volunteers to make sure they have the skills and information they need to safely and effectively do their jobs. Anyone interested in becoming a Red Cross volunteer can help us locally or nationally in a broad range of capacities. Information about volunteering is at www.ctredcross.org."
Shipman also said that people who want to help could do so by making a financial donation. "Making a donation will support current relief efforts and ensure our capacity to respond in the future." Donations may be made online at www.ctredcross.org, or by calling 1-800-Red Cross. A $10 donation may be made on your mobile phone by texting the word REDCROSS to 90999.
American Red Cross disaster assistance is free of charge, a gift made possible by generous donations and the work of volunteers.
Editor's Note: All information in this post was contributed by Paul D. Shipman Chief Communication Officer American Red Cross Farmington