Red Cross of Augusta trains more than 100 locals to work in evacuee shelters

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF)–  Red cCross of Augusta is asking for your help as Hurricane Irma nears. Evacuees are seeking shelter in our area already, so there is a major need for trained shelter staff.

Red Cross is hosting several training classes Friday for people who want to volunteer in shelters. Dozens came out to the morning course, but the local Red Cross’s executive director expects even more people in the later classes.

“I have that in my blood… to help people,” Glen Ford, Red Cross Trainee told me.

The Red Cross of Augusta’s training room was overflowing with people who want to get their hands dirty and serve in evacuee shelters. Red Cross Augusta’s Executive Director, Susan Everitt, explained what volunteers learn in the three hour training course.

“What is it like in a shelter? What are our responsibilities in a shelter? How should we treat people? What do we provide?” Everitt explained.

Red Cross shelter volunteers keep track of who is in the shelter, make sure the evacuees are safe, and they also clean.

“Really, the most important thing is being a person there to listen, a person there to give hugs. You know, someone there to just give that warm human touch in a place where people don’t want to be,” Everitt said.

And that is what Glen Ford and Shanda Vaughn aspire to do in the next few days.

“Just being able to put yourself in their situation, and what it may feel like to be leaving everything behind. And sometimes it’s just knowing that someone cares, and they’re not alone,” Vaughn said.

Ford went through Red Cross’s training Friday morning, but he plans to volunteer at his church’s shelter. He is from Honduras and has helped victims of natural disasters from there. Now, he is Red Cross trained to help Irma evacuees in the U.S.

“I have always been doing this–mostly all of my life. Helping people and helping churches in earthquakes, disasters. What they want really, is help. They need clothing. They need food. They need shelter to sleep,” Ford explained.

Red Cross of Augusta is asking the community not to bring clothing, food or donations to the shelters. Richmond County has plans to set up a donation site for those items.

“We could be the one walking through walking through the same circumstances. But these are life changing and life altering circumstances that they are going through,” Vaughn said.

Red Cross is hosting a training at 630 Friday night at the Columbia County EMA office.

You can also be approved to volunteer in shelters by visiting redcross.org/volunteer, click on the “Volunteer” tab, the “Help with Irma”.

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