Hurricane

Red Cross is training South Mississippi volunteers for Harvey relief

Zoey Lynn Rodriguez, 8, entertains herself with a balloon while waiting out Tropical Storm Harvey on Sunday with other evacuees at an emergency shelter in Austin, Texas.
Zoey Lynn Rodriguez, 8, entertains herself with a balloon while waiting out Tropical Storm Harvey on Sunday with other evacuees at an emergency shelter in Austin, Texas. Austin American-Statesman via AP

The Southeast Mississippi Chapter of the American Red Cross is training volunteers who want to get involved in Hurricane Harvey relief efforts.

Classes will be held Tuesday and Thursday in Hattiesburg and Gulfport, but the Tuesday class in Gulfport is already full. The chapter’s executive director, John McFarland, said more sessions will be set over the next few weeks since they will be deploying volunteers for several months.

Volunteers will receive an overview of disaster relief services, including jobs available, plus detailed training in shelter work. Training also will be scheduled for those wanting to specialize in damage assessment, feeding, emergency response vehicle operations, casework and logistics.

“We’re relying on our veteran, highly trained volunteers for the bulk of the work,” McFarland said. “But there are jobs like sheltering, registration and others that can be taught in a couple of hours to get them started, and they’ll work with an experienced volunteer when they get on site.”

The Red Cross is prepared with shelter supplies to assist 28,000 people in Texas, with additional supplies being shipped in to help 22,000 more, according to a recent release on the Mississippi Region website.

The nonprofit organization also is shipping in tractor-trailer loads of supplies and meals. Donations for Hurricane Harvey relief can be made at redcross.org, by calling 1-800-RED CROSS, or by texting the word HARVEY to 90999 to contribute $10.

Red Cross classes

The Southeast Mississippi Chapter of the American Red Cross is offering classes for new volunteers.

Classes are from 5-8 p.m. Tuesday and 1-4 p.m. Thursday at 612 E. Pass Road, Gulfport and 2020 Hardy Street, Hattiesburg.

Volunteers will be deployed for 14 days. Veterans are handling immediate needs, with training for new volunteers who will replace them as disaster recovery continues.

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