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Volunteers Needed for Hurricane Response

Red Cross "Fast Track" Training Will Prepare Relief Workers for Deployment

In response to the growing needs caused by Hurricane Matthew, the American Red Cross is calling for volunteers to train and deploy to the east coast to help those in need. Two “Fast Track” training sessions will be held, one on Friday, October 21 and another on Saturday, October 29 in Minneapolis. 

“Rivers are still rising leaving entire communities underwater and uprooting thousands of lives,” says Phil Hansen, CEO, American Red Cross Minnesota Region. “Volunteers are needed to help provide shelter, food and relief supplies. We’re also recruiting health services professionals, such as nurses, paramedics and EMTs.”

Fifty volunteer spots are available at the training for each date. Coursework will include an overview of disaster services, position-specific training, psychological first aid and deployment basics. 

“These are great hands-on opportunities. It’s what the Red Cross does – it’s the humanitarian experience of connecting with people in need, listening to them and helping them however we can,” says Vonnie Thomas, a Red Cross volunteer, nurse and training instructor. “Sometimes that’s just a hug, but it means they’re not alone and we’re going to be there as long as we’re needed.” 

Training runs from 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. and will take place at the American Red Cross Minnesota Region’s Minneapolis office at 1201 West River Parkway, Minneapolis, MN 55454. Free parking is available in the lot next to the building and lunch will be provided. Those wishing to volunteer must be at least 18 years-old, have a valid driver’s license and be available to deploy for two weeks within the next month. 

To register, send your name and phone number to Red Cross Volunteer Services at 

The Red Cross has already mobilized 3,000 disaster workers, including 33 from Minnesota. While they are deployed, other volunteers are helping people after local disasters such as home fires, installing smoke alarms and supporting military members, veterans and their families. 


The storm’s lingering effects also continue to impact blood collections in the southeast, resulting in an urgent need for blood and platelet donations across the country. In parts of the country unaffected by the storm, the Red Cross needs eligible individuals to please give blood or platelets now to help ensure we have a readily available blood supply for patients in need. Appointments can be made by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Can’t deploy? Volunteers are always needed behind the scenes in large operations and to fulfill our other mission commitments in Minnesota. Positions are available across the state and virtually. Those interested in helping their local communities prevent and alleviate suffering, please visit and click on Volunteer.  

The Red Cross depends on donations to provide immediate relief. Help people affected by Hurricane Matthew by donating online at, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word MATTHEW to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from this disaster.