Volunteers Prepare To Aid In Hurricane Matthew’s Path

New And Veteran Red Cross Volunteers Sign Up To Go South

Hurricane Matthew’s damage in Florida is beginning to show as the storm clears.

In Georgia and South Carolina, heavy rains, winds and flooding continue as Matthew makes its way around the East Coast of the United States.

The images from this part of the country aren’t lost on people more than a thousand miles north.

In Sioux Falls, volunteers came to the Eastern South Dakota Red Cross branch for a quick training.

Eastern South Dakota Executive Director Jennifer Ross said they are preparing these prospects to help down south.

“Everybody who walks through these doors is making a tremendous sacrifice out of the goodness of their heart to be able to help others who are suffering,” Ross says.

Ross said the training is crucial for any Red Cross volunteer, whether new or veteran, so they can keep the well-oiled machine rolling on the scene of disaster.

“We’re getting everybody prepared so we’re speaking the same language; we all have the same processes. We’re safe, we’re efficient and we’re ready to serve the community,” Ross says.

One volunteer, Rhonda Hayes is no stranger to volunteering.

She spends time at the Faith Temple Food Giveaways in Sioux Falls every week.

When she was asked if she’d be interested in helping those is Hurricane Matthew’s path, she took the challenge.

“You can sit home and watch it and say that’s too bad, I feel sorry for them but what they need is people who are actually willing to get up out of the chair and go to where the need is and to help out and do what they can,” Hayes says.

With a clear schedule, Hayes is preparing to leave her home to help those whose homes may not be the same.

And with seven other volunteers looking to join her on the trip, Hayes said their calling is the best of human nature.

“One thing I love about America is that we do reach out and help our neighbors and the people that are in need whether it’s literally in our own town or across the country,” Hayes says.

The volunteers heading south could leave as early as Monday or Tuesday to go to Florida, Georgia or South Carolina.

They will be on a two week deployment aiding with storm damage.

Ross says the Dakota Region Red Cross has deployed 22 volunteers from North and South Dakota to help with Hurricane Matthew.

Nine of those are currently from the eastern South Dakota branch.