MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Red Cross volunteers in central Alabama are preparing to redeploy to the gulf coast ahead of Hurricane Delta, just weeks after helping with recovery efforts following Hurricane Sally.
“We’re ready to go. We’re getting prepared right now,” said Kelly Hodges, the executive director of the Central East Chapter at American Red Cross.
According to Hodges, a local team of volunteers is stationed in Mobile right now.
“They’ll start dispersing tonight and opening shelters along the Mississippi coast,” Hodges said. “We’ll still have some (shelters) open along the Alabama coast because the surge could still come there also.”
The Montgomery Emergency Response Vehicle (ERV), stocked with food, water, personal protective equipment and other supplies, made its way to Mobile at 6 a.m. Thursday.
“It had just come back from Sally two days ago,” Hodges said. “The windshield had to be repaired and some stuff had to be done, and then at 6:00, a volunteer drove it down there to get prepared to do whatever its task is going to be.”
The ERV’s task most of the time is to park in a location where help is needed most and distribute supplies. In the event of Hurricane Sally, there was a lot of widespread damage and fallen trees, which was why the ERV was parked in a central location to meet the needs of the largest number of people.
“We parked ERV’s in places like LuLu’s parking lot and some other centralized places for people to come and pick up the items that they needed,” Hodges said.
Red Cross volunteer Tracy Larkin has been helping meet the needs of vulnerable communities for seven years. During Hurricane Sally, like several other volunteers, Larkin worked virtually because of COVID-19.
“The main goal a lot of times is to connect organizations that will help those in the community,” Larkin said.
Larkin is now waiting it out to see how he can help in the recovery efforts that will come after Hurricane Delta.
“Just waiting for it to hit and then get more direction on where I can go and what I can do virtual or in person,” Larkin said. “If you like helping people, this is a good time to do it.”
Hodges said whatever lies ahead, Red Cross will be there to lend a hand.
“We don’t know what will happen with Delta, but we’re certainly going to be there for whatever the needs are.”
The Red Cross is always in need of volunteers and cash donations.
To volunteer, or make a donation, visit the American Red Cross website.