It opened shelters in 9 states, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands.
Hagerstown, Md (KM) It may not have been in the news very much recently, but Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico continue to recover from recent hurricanes which left behind a lot of destruction. The non-profit organization says, in a statement, it’s on the ground in all these areas, “part of a large team of agencies and organizations responding to provide help; to communities turned upside down by these storms,” referring to Hurricanes, Harvey, Irma and Maria.
“Regarding what’s happening in our Western Maryland chapter, we have deployed 34 people to respond to the hurricane in Texas, the south coast of Florida, most of Florida, and also we have volunteers serving in Puerto Rico at that time as well,” says Beverly Stambaugh, the Executive Director of the Western Maryland Chapter of the Red Cross.
The Red Cross says it’s opened shelters in 9 states, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands But the hardest hit place is Puerto Rico, says Stambaugh, which is considered a “hardship deployment.” “It’s a tough deployment,” she says. “But it’s tougher for the individuals who are there that have neither had fresh water, or getting very limited supplies of resources that they need.”
And it’s really as bad as it has been portrayed, says Stambaugh. “Not your typical deployment, where things are already not the best. When you go out on deployment, you’re going into a devastated area that’s been hit by a hurricane or a flood or a tornado, and this is no different. But we’re there to help with the families and individuals in need.”
She says the Red Cross is looking for experienced volunteers to help with relief in Puerto Rico. “We’re not looking at volunteers to go out there and be able to have the life of luxury,” Stampbaugh. “They’re going to be living with the individuals who are also impacted. So it’s a tough deployment. It really is. We’re asking individuals to go put in three weeks. We really at this point are looking for trained volunteers because it’s such a difficult deployment.”
Despite all the destruction across several states and Puerto Rico, Stambaugh says the volunteers are still very motivated. “After speaking with a couple who have come back, they can’t wait to go back down again.” she said. “They just want a couple of weeks to get back in touch with the family and then they’re ready to turn back around and head back down wherever we need them. It’s just inspiring and wonderful to see.”
The Red Cross says it’s need more volunteers to be trained, and donations to keep relief operations going. If you want to sign up to be a volunteer or make a contribution, call 1-800-RED -CROSS (733-2767) or go on line to www.RedCross.org.
By Kevin McManus