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Red Cross Seeks Thousands of Volunteers to Help Hurricane Victims

The American Red Cross is looking for 40-thousand volunteers willing to spend three weeks in the southern U-S helping Hurricane victims. The Columbus chapter is adding training classes to accommodate additional volunteers.

The Red Cross usually asks for donations of blood and money, and they still want those, but they also want hands and feet to help in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Some in Columbus are answering the call.

Doris West was in a training class at the Red Cross building on East Broad Street this week - preparing to spend three weeks helping hurricane survivors. 14 hours of training is required in client care, mass care and shelter operations.

Columbus Red Cross Instructor Becky Shaw says the impact of the hurricanes was also felt by volunteers who live in the region, another reason more people are needed over and above the 211-thousand volunteers who've already worked in areas of the U-S hit by the hurricanes. 200 people have contacted the Columbus chapter about volunteering for hurricane relief, and about 150 have started taking classes. Shaw says, volunteers must be able to lift 50 pounds they should not have problems with mold or other allergies and they should be prepared to "rough it."

Shaw suggests that anyone interested in volunteering begin with the online training course on the Red Cross web site. It takes about 45 minutes to an hour to complete.