10 Local Red Cross Volunteers Help with Hurricane Matthew

Posted:
Springfield, IL -

UPDATE: Ten volunteers and one staff member from the Springfield chapter of the American Red Cross are in the south east region of the country lending a helping hand after Hurricane Matthew.

Alyssa Pollock, a Red Cross Regional Disaster Officer, arrived in Goldsboro, North Carolina last week. Pollack says she is trying to help as many people as possible during her two-week assignment.

"I first arrived in the middle of last week. We were still very much in crisis mode," explains Pollock, "We had rivers that were rising, we had a levy breach, and transportation was really difficult. There were still a lot of people in life safety crisis situations. Now the situation has stabilized a little bit. Several of the rivers have crested and started to go down, but there are still people staying in shelters. They will be unable to return to their homes for quite some time."

Pollock says helping with the disaster relief is very fulfilling.

"This is what keeps me in the Red Cross," explains Pollock, "To know on the worst day of someone's life, I can help make things just a little bit better."

She will be in North Carolina for another ten days helping those in need before returning to Springfield.

To make an immediate $10 donation, text REDCROSS to 90999. You can also call 1-800-REDCROSS.

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As Hurricane Matthew is upgraded to a category 4 storm, it tracks closer to the U.S. It's the biggest evacuation ever underway, as the hurricane heads toward Florida.

Florida is under a state of emergency. Local American Red Cross chapters are doing their part to help out, including the chapter in Springfield.

As the waves get bigger, nearly two million Americans are being urged to flee the storm's path. Hundreds of people are lining up outside emergency shelters across the state, while others fill up their gas tanks to hit the road.

The Springfield chapter of the American Red Cross is doing its part to help those in need.

"Our local chapter has already deployed ten volunteers along with one of our staff members and three emergency response vehicles to the Atlantic region. The national American Red Cross has already deployed 500 volunteers and 90 response vehicles. It's definitely a national scale disaster," says Chris Richmond, a Springfield Fire Marshall and board member for Springfield's Red Cross.

Richmond says volunteers left with supplies, expecting to stay two to three weeks. "The goal for the volunteers is to support the local citizens in their sheltering needs and food needs, primarily, but also to coordinate getting the resources they need when they need them. We try to get communities back to normal just as quick as possible," he explains. Richmond believes it's likely the American Red Cross will deploy more volunteers, saying it looks like the recovery cycle for the category 4 hurricane could take weeks or even months.

As for those in Central Illinois who want to help, the American Red Cross is seeking monetary donations.

"Generally we try to avoid taking food and clothes donations this early on," explains Richmond. "In the recovery phase after the disaster and once things get a little more organized and we've had damage assessments, that's when we'll start taking those donations. What we know we need for sure is cash donations to pay for things like fuel and stand-up shelters and pay for immediate food needs."

If you want to donate, visit AmericanRedCross.org or call 1-800-REDCROSS.

To donate $10 immediately, you can text REDCROSS to 90999.

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