Red Cross SC in need of local volunteers due to COVID-19

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The American Red Cross of Lowcountry SC expressed their urgent need for volunteers during this Hurricane Season.

According to Ashley Henyen, Executive Director of Red Cross of Lowcountry SC, 90% of the Red Cross’ workforce are volunteers, so they could use all of the help they can get.

“We have a pool of 300,000 volunteers that are ready to help out whenever a large scale emergency might occur but because of the COVID pandemic and the environment that we find ourselves in, we want to make sure that we can tap into our volunteer workforce and build that up locally,” explained Henyen on the need for more local volunteers.

They need volunteers for many of their services, but in a discussion held today via Zoom, officials said they are looking for volunteers to help with their shelter and mental health team.

“They help to make sure that our cots are spaced out safely due to social distancing requirements. They’ll help to make sure there are meals available for shelter residents,” said Henyen on the responsibilities of shelter team volunteers.

One Red Cross Shelter Team Volunteer, Arlene Dunbar says working in a shelter will give people a chance to provide a hand for those in need.

“I saw the great need of the people and how the people, a lot of the times, they didn’t seem to have any hope and as a Red Cross volunteer, we can make sure to have some hope.”

Arlene Dunbar, Shelter Team Volunteer

Red Cross officials say that hotels and dormitories are their top priorities as sites for shelters, but they are also looking into using schools and churches if necessary.

For those who may be concerned about possible exposure while volunteering, the Red Cross says they have changed their protocols, which includes condensed, virtual training and some changes being made to their shelters.

“We have certain measures in place. Extra hand washing stations that will be placed in shelters. We’re setting up things a little differently, of course. Our mission and work remains the same but the way we’re doing it is a little bit differently and a lot of our volunteer work can be done virtually as well, so we’re making sure folks stay safe that way as well.”

Ashley Henyen, Executive Director, American Red Cross of Lowcountry SC

Click here if you’re interested in registering as a volunteer.

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