September 28, 2005
The American Red Cross needs more volunteers to help hurricane victims along the gulf coast, and many are stepping up. The Red Cross is now making small changes, in an effort to get more volunteers.
"We have an urgent need for volunteers at this particular time," said Keila Rader, the Executive Director of the Central Virginia Chapter of the American Red Cross.
Several people understand, and because of that, a record number are entering the doors of the American Red Cross. Many are dropping by to make a simple donation, and others are signing up for deployment to the gulf coast.
"We need 40,000 new volunteers to help supplement needs in the field as well as home chapters," said Rader.
The need is so great, the Central Virginia Chapter of the American Red Cross, is even relaxing some of its volunteer requirements. Usually volunteers wanting to be deployed must know the 'in-and-outs' of the American Red Cross, and why it exists.
"Rather than going through the long course of how we do it, why we do it, and the theory behind the helping process, we think it's most important you have the nuts and bolts to do your job," explained Rader.
It's estimated it could take up to two years before the Red Cross leaves the gulf coast, so the need for volunteers will be ongoing. A volunteer who just returned to Charlottesville hours ago offers this advice.
"Go down with the right attitude. [Don't] go down and go on vacation. This is not a vacation time," said Issaac Strothers, who just returned after helping out in the gulf coast region.
The local chapter of the Red Cross has helped 134 families, and provided $750,000 in financial assistance.
Despite the large number of volunteers already along the gulf coast, helping the victims of both Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the American Red Cross says even more are needed. They are ready to add even more courses to help train them.
The executive director for the Central Virginia Chapter of the American Red Cross, who just returned from Houston herself, says the support of hundreds of local people has personally touched her. She's proud to be from Charlottesville.