Tag: Volunteers

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma put Strain on Availability of Local Red Cross Volunteers

DES MOINES, Iowa  --  Following the devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey and now the impending threat of Irma, dozens of Iowans have asked how they can help with relief efforts. Organizers with the Iowa Red Cross says the two major natural disasters are putting pressure on them to churn out trained volunteers.

Throughout the week, the Iowa Red Cross will be hosting volunteer information sessions across the state. Officials say those who undergo training now will not likely be sent to Texas, but if ready they will go to Florida.

“It really puts a lot of pressure on us. It’s going to be really interesting and a challenge for us,” says Iowa Red Cross volunteer Terry Christensen.

According to the Iowa Red Cross, nearly 50 volunteers are currently stationed in Houston. On Tuesday and Wednesday, four volunteers will deploy to Orlando ahead of the expected storm.

Christensen is a volunteer trainer for the nonprofit organization, and anticipates between 50 and 75 volunteers will attend each meeting in Cedar Rapids, Dubuque, Sioux City, and Des Moines. Volunteers must complete a series of online and in-person courses and be 18 years or older. Organizers say they not only need volunteers willing to travel out of state, but those who are willing to stay in-state, too.

“There are a lot of things that need to be done locally," he says. “Just answering the telephones in our offices. With all the people deploying, there are back up needs we have at local fire stations. They don't stop when there is a disaster.”

An volunteer informational meeting will take place on Thursday in Des Moines at the Red Cross building located at 2116 Grand Avenue beginning at 6 p.m.

Central Iowa Mission Team Bringing Boat to Houston

DES MOINES, Iowa  --  A central Iowa mission group is heading into Houston’s flooded waters.

On Tuesday, the group left Des Moines with a boat, fuel, and tools. Once they arrive in Texas, they plan to buy supplies to hand out to people in need. The local nonprofit organization, Disaster Relief Missions, say it will also meet up with a local pastor who will help coordinate their relief efforts.

Paul Wilson Jr. says he’s helped with hurricane relief before, but says this one might be the most devastating.

“We're always looking for opportunities to be able to help and serve people, so seeing something like this, sometimes when hurricanes come through, they don’t end up doing much damage, but this one is just unbelievable. It looks like it’s as bad a Katrina, if not worse."

The group is already in the process of raising money and planning another trip to the Houston region. To follow their journey and find out how you can help, visit their Facebook page.

Iowa Volunteers Ready to Rescue Animals From Texas Floods

TEXAS  --  Some Iowans are traveling to Texas to help with hurricane relief efforts, including volunteers from AHeinz57 Pet Rescue & Transport.

The volunteers will drive to Texas on Tuesday to bring van loads of homeless dogs back to Iowa. The local rescue is working with shelters hit by Harvey to free up space for family pets who were flooded from their homes. Organizers have room to bring back around 70 dogs.

"We don't want to take people's pets that are in shelters right now because they need to be reunited with their pets when everything dries up, so we're working really hard with the rural shelters around the Houston area," said Amy Heinz.

Volunteers are scrambling to get supplies to take with them to Texas. If you want to make a donation, items can be dropped off at PetSakes in Des Moines and at Bone-A-Patreat in West Des Moines.

Thousands of Volunteers Needed for Hunger Fight

DES MOINES, Iowa  --  Thousands of volunteers are needed for Meals from the Heartland's 10th annual Hunger Fight.

The volunteers will pack millions of meals for those around the world who face hunger every day.

The Hunger Fight runs from August 30th to September 2nd at Hy-Vee Hall in Des Moines, and shifts are two hours long. You can sign up on the Meals from the Heartland website.

About 10,000 volunteers packaged more than four million meals last year, and organizers hope to package the 100 millionth meal during this 10th anniversary event.

More Iowa Red Cross Volunteers Traveling to Texas for Storm Relief Work

TEXAS  --  The once-Hurricane Harvey has now been downgraded to a tropical storm, but heavy rains in Texas and Louisiana are expected to cause devastating flooding.

As a result, more help is on the way. On Saturday, the Iowa Red Cross deployed 10 more volunteers to the region, bringing the total number of Iowans sent to the area to 20. The volunteers' duties range from helping provide shelter to handing out medical supplies.

The Red Cross currently has 24 shelters in place in Texas and Louisiana, and 40 more are on standby.

Twenty Red Cross volunteers from Iowa are either in Texas on Sunday night or will soon be in the disaster area. However, with the dangerous flooding conditions, some of them have been unable to get into the city of Houston to help there.

Joe Vich, a Red Cross volunteer from Waterloo, is stuck waiting to help, and spoke with Channel 13 via telephone from Austin, Texas, about 150 miles northwest of his final intended destination. This interview can be heard in the video above.