Hurricane Harvey has sent thousands to American Red Cross shelters in Texas and now Hurricane Irma has the potential to leave thousands homeless in Florida.
“We are preparing for another large disaster,” said Cindy Erickson, CEO of the St. Louis Area Chapter of the American Red Cross. “We need a lot of volunteers to help in the months to come.”
Erickson is being deployed to Florida later this week. She said volunteers who undergo training could be deployed in a few weeks or months, depending on the need.
"We expect to be sheltering in Texas from now until at least Christmas,” she said.
Ballwin resident Mike Eggers was one of dozens of volunteers who underwent Red Cross training on Tuesday.
“I’m young enough and healthy enough to just pitch in,” Eggers said.
Tejae Carr is a college student who lives in Ferguson. She was also undergoing training Tuesday night.
“A lot of people are losing everything and they don’t have anything,” said Carr. “I’d like to be down there to help and be a part of that.”
Erickson said volunteers should expect long hours that can often require being on your feet for long stretches and sleeping on a cot at night.
“You’re so tired, but it’s a good tired,” she said. “It’s a good tired because you have been there to help families who are experiencing the worst experience of their life.”
Anyone wishing to volunteer or donate to the American Red Cross should call 1-800-Red-Cross (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcross.org.