Red Cross volunteers answer calls for help after hurricanes

FARMINGTON, Conn. (WTNH) — Multiple hurricanes hitting one after the other have left hundreds of thousands of people out of their homes and in need of help. The American Red Cross has stepped up its efforts to assist those in need.

“It’s an incredibly humbling experience to be with the American Red Cross on the ground. I was there right before Harvey hit and so I was there throughout the entire event and I watched us mobilize our workforce. I watched us stand up those shelters and saw people going out and doing everything they possibly could when it was a really dangerous situation,” said Stefanie Arcangelo, Communications Director for The American Red Cross here in Connecticut.

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Arcangelo says there are about 100 volunteers and staff from Connecticut on the ground in Texas, Florida, and the islands. They’re still looking for more.

“What you do right now is you fill out a volunteer application. We are running training courses for basic courses like sheltering, disaster center services. the general things that you need to know to be able to go out on a relief operation,” said Arcangelo.

Training to become a volunteer typically takes about a month, but now, with such an urgent need for help, they’re speeding up the process.

“We’re doing some quick training on Tuesdays and Saturdays that are all day training sessions [and] will get you ready. Take all of the courses that you need at once and be able to get you out the door,” said Arcangelo.

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Volunteers do things like hand out emergency supplies and food, man the shelters and offer emotional support to victims. Two trucks will leave their Farmington headquarters tomorrow to head to Orlando. They will be driven by volunteers.

“It’s your neighbor, it’s your brother, it’s your sister. We have nurses, we have mental health professionals, we have firefighters,” said Arcangelo. “When these things happen they see the devastation and they raise their hand and wanna help and we are so grateful for that.”