HENRICO COUNTY, Va. — Two volunteers from the Red Cross of Virginia set off Saturday to help with relief efforts in the parts of Kentucky hit by flooding.
Longtime volunteers Ellen White and Susie Clarke, who departed from Richmond International Airport, said they will go straight to work when they arrived.
Clarke, who works with health services, said that while she helps survivors with their medical needs, sometimes they just need someone to talk to.
Clarke has been volunteering with the Red Cross for 17 years.
“I’ve been on like 50-some major disasters,” Clarke said. “It’s like it’s something that gets in my blood. I just want to help. And I keep going back because every time I go I feel like I’m helping people have a better day.”
White said their work is “heartwarming.”
“They cry, I cry. They laugh, I laugh,” said White, who works distributing supplies. “If I can help one person, my job is done.”
Seven volunteers, including White and Clarke from the Richmond area, were being deployed as of Friday.
“And we expect that that number is going to continue to grow as we go throughout the weekend,” Red Cross of Virginia Communications Director Jonathan McNamara said. “And this is just part of how the Red Cross network works.”
McNamara said among the volunteers going will be those who will drive down their emergency response vehicles to deliver supplies and serve as meal trucks in communities.
“The types of materials you’re going to see coming from Virginia and other areas of the country are cots, blankets, comfort kits, the type of materials needed to set up and establish shelters in these communities,” added McNamara. “They will supplement what’s already on the ground in Kentucky through their sister chapters who were there before this event ever occurred.”
McNamara said other volunteers will also help out in shelters and offer first aid assistance and mental health care.
“With the mental health side, that’s actually some of the most important work that we do is helping people take stock of what’s happened and help them start to process what can be an incredibly traumatic situation,” said McNamara. “And this is just part of how we approach this from a comprehensive perspective.”
If you would like to help the Red Cross help the people of Kentucky, McNamara said they are always in need of more volunteers or you can donate blood, money, or materials.