Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Tornadoes Not Behind Us: Hurricanes Ahead

by Anita Foster, Communications Officer, American Red Cross North Texas Region

On the heels of a widespread tornado outbreak that left thousands of people without a place to live, and just a little under a month from the official start of Hurricane Season 2012, the American Red Cross is appealing for new volunteers to join the organization in advance of the next storm.
Red Cross volunteer, Dan Halyburton, assures a Forney
storm victim that help is available.  
            On Saturday, May 5, between 1:00p.m. and 5:00p.m., the American Red Cross will swing open the doors at their Dallas and Fort Worth offices and invite new potential volunteers to come learn how the organization responds to events like the April tornado outbreak.
            During the tornadoes, the American Red Cross operated four shelters, served more than 40,000 meals and snacks, handed out some 6,000 clean-up items like tarps, shovels and rakes and helped nearly 500 people with their health and mental health needs. All of this work was done by 328 Red Cross workers; 85% of which were volunteers.
            “When disasters such as the tornadoes strike, people want to get involved with the Red Cross right then,” said T.D. Smyers, regional chief executive officer, American Red Cross North Texas Region. “What we really want folks to do is to train when the sky is blue so that when the time comes, you’ve got the training, we know your skill-set and we can put you to work right away.”
            Smyers goes on to say that the Open Houses this weekend are the ideal opportunity to come meet the Red Cross and find out where you fit in.
“There’s a place for everyone at the Red Cross. Just to name a few jobs: you can run a forklift, drive a feeding truck, attend telethons or work directly with families. It takes a lot of volunteers to respond to large disasters. We saw that with the April tornadoes. And hurricane season is just a month away.”
            The Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex serves as the primary evacuation site for storms that hit the Houston/Galveston area. In 2008, the American Red Cross sheltered more than 5,000 people when Hurricane Ike barreled across the area. In 2005, just over 28,000 evacuees from New Orleans and South Texas sheltered in DFW. The Reunion Arena shelter, staffed 24/7 by volunteers, was open for a record-breaking 41 consecutive days.
Join Us on Saturday, May 5, 2012 between 1:00p.m. and 5:00p.m. at either location: 
American Red Cross
4800 Harry Hines Blvd.
Dallas, Texas
American Red Cross
1515 S. Sylvania Avenue
Fort Worth, Texas

No RSVP needed...just stop by when you can! If you’re unable to stop by on Saturday, but still want to volunteer, click on to find your local American Red Cross chapter. 

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