Help wanted to help others: American Red Cross needs volunteers

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WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY(WBRE/WYOU) — The U.S. has seen its share of natural disasters in recent months.

From flooding to fires and hurricanes to tornadoes, the number of crises has stretched support resources, including volunteers.

Many of those volunteers are supplied by the American Red Cross. This organization sure could use some help so that it can help so many others.

When you see disasters like recent flooding, you can’t help but think of people who’ve lost so much. During those first few hours, so many victims who feel so alone have someone there to help: an American Red Cross volunteer.

“They’re true humanitarians. They see a need and they just want to get involved. And we’re so grateful for them. They’re incredible,” American Red Cross President/CEO Gail McGovern said.

But this summer, the need has been overwhelming. Western wildfires have been burning for months through California, Oregon and Washington.

“We’re there with hundreds of volunteers providing shelter, food, comfort and you know people are getting evacuated, moving and we’re just moving with them and standing up different shelters,” said McGovern.

The widespread response to natural disasters could use some volunteer reinforcements.

“They’ve been at it a long time these volunteers. In fact, some of them are on their second or third deployment already and 90 percent of our workforce is volunteers and we could not do this without them,” McGovern said.

It’s not just natural disasters increasing the demand. The need has been ratcheted up by the Afghanistan refugee crisis.

“They’re showing up with nothing. It’s so heartbreaking. Kids without shoes, soiled clothing. We’re providing toys. We’re providing clothing. We’re providing mental health counseling, first aid. We’re taking care of them as they show up and we’re also helping them connect with their families in the U.S.,” McGovern explained.

The American Red Cross is seeking shelter volunteers and medical professionals willing to donate their time.

“We will put you to work and find work that you like to do,” McGovern said.

Besides needing volunteers, the American Red Cross can also use financial support and blood donations.

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