PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — While the Louisiana flooding may seem far away, Rhode Islanders still have the opportunity to help those affected.
The American Red Cross is looking for the public’s support through donations and volunteers.
Monetary donations can be made by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS, or texting the word LAFLOODS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
“Initial reports indicate responding to this disaster could cost more than $10 million said Mario Bruno, CEO, American Red Cross Connecticut and Rhode Island Region.
According to a news release, these donations allow them to better prepare for, respond to, and help people recover from disasters.
Those looking to make a larger difference can also become a Red Cross volunteer.
More specifically, Executive Director of the Rhode Island Chapter of the Red Cross, Tempie Thompson, said they are looking for Rhode Islanders who are willing to travel to Louisiana to hand out supplies, and those who can offer disaster mental health counselling. Both positions require an application and training process before deployment.
“From the time that you’re trained and ready to go and qualified, it could be a matter of a week and then you’d be gone for two weeks,” explained Thompson.
Six local volunteers have already been physically deployed to Louisiana, joining the 500 disaster volunteers from around the country responding to the floods, according to the Red Cross.
An additional eight local volunteers will be virtually helping the disaster relief by working in call centers. The Red Cross stated that they will remain local and take shifts answering calls coming from the impacted area and providing support and assistance by phone.
Red Cross volunteer Ginny Brezza said, “I find that volunteering with the Red Cross for me has been a gift from them, in other words, to be able to help another human being who needs help is my payback, it’s an awesome thing.”
Officials are calling this the worst national natural disaster since Superstorm Sandy in 2012.
In Rhode Island alone, there are hundreds of Red Cross volunteers, ready for action whenever disaster strikes, but not all of them would be deployed at once.
“If there are volunteers that are being deployed, we want to make sure that we’re ready to go here in case volunteers are needed here in the state as well,” Thompson added.
To be prepared in case of a disaster in your community, the Red Cross also has a free Red Cross Emergency App to alert you about emergencies, provide shelter information and an “I’m Safe” feature to connect with loved one’s to let them know that you’re okay.