Local volunteers train for deployment

HARLINGEN — Sitting in a classroom, a handful of volunteer hopefuls are being instructed on various ways to help out with the Red Cross.

The three-hour training classes along with a background check are required for volunteers to be eligible to deploy out to needed areas and help.

Each deployment is a 14-day commitment that volunteers sign on for.

Off the highway on Stuart Place, the building is the only Red Cross in the Valley and will deploy a group of volunteers to the Coastal Bend and Houston area today.

Eight volunteers will make their way north to assist and serve more than 20,000 people in shelters that each cater to about 400 people.

According to executive director Danella Hughes, the center trains between 12 and 15 people a day.

Volunteers are trained on mass care and shelter fundamentals.

“The shelter fundamentals revolve around cots and blankets and making the family feel as comfortable as possible,” Hughes said.

On top of the normal training, volunteers were required to receive their food certification to serve the people.

This will be the fourth deployment up North since the hurricane.

Donations are also being shipped out once a day.

Hughes said depending on how much has been donated, Red Cross usually has a semi-trailer, flat bed or cargo van taking products out daily.

“Nothing stays here more than 25 hours,” Hughes said.

On the side of the building a forklift loads a pallet of dog food onto a semi trailer while more pallets of water and food are behind them.

Hughes said that large drive donations are always welcome but need to be called in to schedule pick up dates ahead of time in order for them to make arrangements.

For other donations, Hughes encourages people to take them to food banks and local places like Loaves and Fishes.

Volunteers: By the Numbers

• 8 volunteers will leave

• 12-15 people are trained a day

• 12 volunteers on average are at the center daily

Want to volunteer?

Log on to www.redcross.com and register or call 956-423-0523 for more information