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Local Red Cross deployed to the Gulf, volunteers needed

Published: Aug. 25, 2020 at 2:10 AM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - The local American Red Cross chapter has been activated to help with the storms threatening the Gulf Coast.

Over the weekend three volunteers were sent to Houston to respond, however, local officials say more will be deployed when they learn more about the trajectory, and more volunteers are needed.

“Especially with the storms coming up, we would just like to get as many people as we can to come in and join our ranks,” said Robert Gonzales, spokesman and volunteer for the local American Red Cross chapter. “You’ve got the wildfires going on in California, you’ve got the two impending hurricanes that are coming up into the Gulf, not to mention there’s other things out there going on in the world, so it’s likely that we need more volunteers.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the organization’s response to natural disasters.

Gonzales said he received an email Monday afternoon that the agency was activating shelter plans in Austin in San Antonio to prepare for the upcoming storms threatening the Gulf, however, due to the virus, they’re having to set everything up differently than past disasters.

“We’re putting them in hotels instead of opening up these big massive shelters that we’ve done in the past,” said Gonzales about the shelter plans.

He said they’re also having to do more of the prep work remotely.

“(In the past) We would have about 70% of the workforce on the ground and 30% virtually, however, due to COVID, we’ve had to reverse that,” said Gonzales.

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