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San Luis Obispo Volunteers to provide relief in Colorado and Montana

SAN LUIS OBISPO — Since June 9 Red Cross has supported families across 16 states, displaced due to evacuations from wildfires, damage from Tropical Storm Debby and a severe storm that knocked out power to approximately 3.6 million customers. More than 1,100 Red Cross workers are focused on providing people with a cool place to stay, meals and snacks, relief items and a shoulder to lean on.

Thousands of people are still unable to go home as wildfires continue to burn in several western states. More than 100 people spent Monday night in 10 Red Cross shelters in Colorado, Wyoming and Montana. More than 11,000 relief items, such as rakes, shovels, gloves and coolers, have been handed out to people returning to their homes.

Red Cross volunteers of San Luis Obispo County are always ready to help. Three trained volunteers are being deployed to help support the relief efforts in Colorado and Montana. Jean Luis, from Arroyo Grande, left on Tuesday to assist with feeding displaced residents and first responders in Colorado. To date, the Red Cross has served nearly 45,000 meals and snacks in Colorado, and Jean will be a key volunteer to help distribute food to those who need it.

Colleen Hubbard of San Luis Obispo, left yesterday, and will be helping provide client services to those displaced in Montana. As a registered nurse, she will be providing much needed health care to people in shelters. Rick Anderson, of Arroyo Grande, is also being deployed to Montana. A volunteer for just a year with the Red Cross, this is his first deployment and he will be helping in disaster assessment services. This volunteer position works with those who have lost their homes to coordinate services with them.

“We are proud to have San Luis Obispo County represented with these amazing volunteers. I know that they will help the people of Colorado and Montana – and they will bring back valuable experience in disasters that will help our local communities,” said Loren Avila-Leidinger, executive director, American Red Cross San Luis Obispo County.

Volunteers with the Red Cross are trained in disaster response, shelter operations, care and feeding of those displaced by emergencies, and in mental health first aid. Combinations of disaster trainings allow our volunteers to be of service in whatever areas needed during a disaster – whether it be comforting a family who has lost their home or setting up cots in a shelter. Red Cross volunteers are ready when the time comes.

“Training volunteers is an important part of community preparedness,” states Paul Dies, Emergency Service Director for the Red Cross Central Coast Region and San Luis Obispo. “Our volunteers are trained so they can help locally, nationally, and internationally. Most of our workforce is made up of volunteers who are passionate about helping others.

For more information on what the Red Cross is doing to support the wildfires in the west, please visit

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation’s blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or join our blog.