Douglas and neighboring county residents are among more than 50 American Red Cross volunteers from this region who are on the ground in Texas, or expected to head south soon.
The Red Cross Kansas, Nebraska, Southwest Iowa Region has more than 40 volunteers already in Texas. They began making their way there on Thursday before Hurricane Harvey made landfall, said Jane Blocher, Red Cross executive director for Northeast Kansas. Another dozen volunteers from this region are expected to depart before the end of this week.
Blocher said a couple of those are from Douglas County, as well as several from neighboring counties.
For now, area volunteers are stationed at Red Cross shelters across the flood-ravaged area.
“It’s just all hands on deck,” Blocher said. “Most of the volunteers right now are involved with mass care, in the shelters, because that’s where the biggest need is ... we can’t really do a whole lot now except for shelter people who’ve had to evacuate.”
When waters begin to recede, Blocher said, volunteers will move into the next phase of response, including passing out cleanup kits and cleaning supplies, and assessing and verifying damage that residents are seeking help for.
As the Red Cross depends on financial donations to be able to provide disaster relief immediately, Blocher encouraged those who want to help to donate money. The organization does not accept donations of “stuff,” she said.
Blocher said the Red Cross volunteers helping now with the storm have been previously trained through the organization and are reporting to Red Cross leaders in Texas.
How to help
Donate to the American Red Cross Hurricane Harvey response efforts online at redcross.org, by calling 1-800-RED CROSS, or by texting the word 'HARVEY' to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
Also learn more about training to become a Red Cross volunteer online at redcross.org.