While most of the country is enjoying the long 4th of July holiday weekend, hundreds of American Red Cross disaster volunteers will spend the holiday away from their homes and loved ones helping people impacted by disasters.
A total of three Hawaii Red Cross volunteer are deploying to California in response to the wildfires. Oahu volunteer Candy Iha and Big Island volunteer Joyce Lovell will be deploying on Saturday evening to assist with health services. Oahu volunteer Ryan Yamane deployed on Wednesday and will be assisting with disaster mental health.
In addition to that, a total of three Hawaii Red Cross volunteers have deployed to West Virginia in response to the devastating floods. Oahu volunteers Penny Lindsey and Renise Bayne are assisting with logistics and casework, respectively and Kauai volunteer, William Butler is assisting with community partnerships.
“The lives of thousands of people have been turned upside down by deadly floods and wildfires, and Red Cross volunteers, including our inspiring volunteers from Hawaii, who left their families during this holiday weekend, are there to provide comfort and support, while making sure they have a safe place to stay and food to eat,” said Coralie Chun Matayoshi, CEO of the Hawaii Red Cross.
More than 140 Red Cross volunteers are on the ground in California, helping the hundreds of people affected by the huge Erskine wildfire which has burned more than 46,000 acres and destroyed as many as 285 homes. As firefighters work to fully contain the blaze, Red Cross volunteers are serving meals, distributing relief supplies and providing health services and emotional support.
Almost 500 volunteers are helping people affected by the devastating flooding in West Virginia where there could be as many as 2,000 homes damaged or destroyed. The volunteers are supporting shelters and providing meals, relief supplies, health services and emotional support. Red Cross caseworkers are also meeting with individuals to help them plan their next steps.
“I decided to accept deployment to West Virginia because of the devastation on the news,” said Oahu Red Cross Volunteer, Renise Bayne. “There were numerous reports of counties needing help and I wanted to be part of the solution… The people of West Virginia are in shock and awe that Hawaii is here to extend help, love and hugs.”