The American Red Cross has launched an urgent appeal for volunteers, particularly disaster volunteers who can respond to local incidents such as home fires, flooding and snowstorms. There are also opportunities to deploy to other regions of the country during large-scale disasters to assist in sheltering, feeding, damage assessment and bulk distribution.
To date, the Red Cross has deployed more than 6,300 volunteers in less than two months, two-and-half-times the number called upon by this point in 2015.
Last year saw 24,000 volunteers deployed, with 2015 requiring more than triple the number of volunteers to respond to disasters than in any of the past three years.
Recently, 44 staff and volunteers from the Western and Central New York Region have been assisting in flood-impacted areas of Louisiana. Many have returned home, while others are still serving there. Also this year, volunteers have traveled to California, Oklahoma, Texas, Mississippi and Florida.
Preparations are currently underway to deploy to areas in the path of Tropical Storm Hermine if necessary. The Red Cross workforce is made up of 90 percent volunteers. In order to continue providing services locally and beyond, new volunteers are greatly needed. Prospective volunteers are invited to upcoming information sessions to learn more about becoming a disaster volunteer. The sessions will include brief presentations on the menu of services provided by the Red Cross, followed by a Disaster Services Overview, the initial step in the training process.
Volunteer Information events are scheduled in each chapter within the Region:
Central New York Chapter
Serving Cayuga, Cortland, Madison, Onondaga, and Oswego Counties
Phone: (315) 234-2200
Finger Lakes Chapter
Serving Chemung, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Wayne, and Yates Counties
Phone: (607) 936-3766
Greater Rochester Chapter
Serving Livingston, Monroe, and Ontario Counties
Phone: (585) 241-4400
Southern Tier Chapter
Serving Broome, Chenango, Tioga and Tompkins Counties
Phone: (607) 785-7207
Western New York Chapter
Serving Allegany, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Genesee, Erie, Niagara, Orleans, and Wyoming Counties
Phone: (716) 886-7500
In addition to Disaster Services, volunteer opportunities are available in Blood Services, Service to the Armed Forces, and Health and Safety Services.