Virginia Red Cross volunteers to aid in Harvey relief

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Emergency volunteers from across the country are packing up to go help those devastated by the storm.

8News caught up with the local Red Cross chapter before they began their journey to Houston.

Representatives from the organization said that in total, 4,000 volunteers have been sent by the organization to help those affected by Harvey.

The group from Richmond has a two-day drive to get to Houston.

They said when it comes to helping those in need, distance doesn’t matter.

“When we are called, it doesn’t matter where in the country or out of the country,” Debbie Hoffman, a Red Cross volunteer said. “If it is a disaster, we go, we respond.”

Hoffman is just one of the volunteers driving from Richmond to Texas to help.

After a weekend of heavy wind and rain, volunteers with the Red Cross are going to Houston to cover the basic necessities of those impacted.

David Sharp, another volunteer described the services they will provide.

“We are going to an area where there is a lot of flooding, a lot of homeless people. They are going to need essentially shelter and food.”

And as emergency crews rescue people from their flooded homes, they are brought to the shelters scattered across the area.

“They’re going to need help. A lot of help,” Hoffman said.

Hoffman says she knew she had to be the one to help. That’s one of the main reasons she first signed up to be a Red Cross Volunteer.

“Things like this pull at my heart string,” Hoffman said. “I just care a lot about people and it makes me feel good to help people.”

The Red Cross depends on financial donations to be able to provide disaster relief immediately. Help people affected by Hurricane Harvey by visiting redcross.org, calling 1- 800-RED CROSS or texting the word HARVEY to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

  • Donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from this disaster.
  • The Red Cross honors donor intent. Donors can designate their donation to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts by choosing that option when donating on redcross.org or on 1-800-RED CROSS.
  • The best way to ensure your donation will go to a specific disaster is to write the specific disaster name in the memo line of a check. We also recommend completing and mailing the donation formon redcross.org with your check

We know Americans are generous and want to do everything they can to help after a disaster. Unfortunately, collecting and sending food, clothing and other household items often does more harm than good. Instead, the best way to support disaster victims is with a financial donation.

  • It takes time and money to store, sort, clean and distribute donated items, which diverts limited time and resources away from helping those most affected. In contrast, financial donations can be accessed quickly to support those affected, and be put to use right away. With a financial donation, individuals can buy what they need and want.
  • Storing donated items can also result in thousands of dollars in warehousing, cleaning, transportation and handling fees – whereas financial donations allow us to be flexible to give those directly affected by Harvey what they need most.
  • Our first priority is the safety and well-being of those affected by disasters. Unfortunately, some well-intentioned donations of clothing or other items may be inadvertently soiled or dirty, which can cause illness. Financial donations don’t pose any health risks and can be used right away to replace items like medications and reading glasses.
  • Before collecting or dropping off donations of food, clothing or household items, please call to see if these items are needed. On some occasions, the Red Cross will accept donations, except for homemade food, at our shelters.

This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.

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