Red Cross volunteers providing relief for back to back disasters


FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – It’s been less than a month since the Red Cross of Northwest Arkansas sent volunteers to the Gulf Coast to help victims of Hurricane Laura. Now, in the middle of a pandemic, our country has seen two more major disasters: Hurricane Sally and the California wildfires.

Julie Brown, the Executive Director of Red Cross in Northwest Arkansas says there are over 5,000 volunteers spread across the country responding to the hurricanes and wildfire. There are over 30,000 people staying in shelters provided by Red Cross because they have lost their homes. However, there are still not enough volunteers or resources to meet all of the needs.

Wesley Smith is a student at the University of Arkansas but due to the pandemic all of his classes are now online. He was recently able to deploy to Louisiana for 10 days with other Red Cross volunteers to help clean up the damage from Hurricane Laura. After learning of all the damage coming from the other two disasters that have happened since Hurricane Laura, Smith says he’s already preparing to deploy again soon.

He says he worked nonstop giving out food to people and managing one of the shelters to give those who lost their home a place to sleep.

“That’s why I joined is because I heard okay we’ve had a category four hit already a category two just hit all the people that evacuated from the category four and we’re not even close to being done yet,” he said. “It really opened up my perspective I came home and I don’t think I’ve complained since I’ve gotten home just because I understand that things could get taken in a minute.”

Brown says there is an urgent need for volunteers who are able to deploy to one of the states impacted by a recent disaster. Red Cross is also in need of donations. Click here to find out how you can help.

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