With thousands of people affected by 13 tornadoes that hit the Miami Valley Monday night, more people are looking for ways to help, and those in need are searching for resources.
The American Red Cross continues to provide shelter, food, supplies and assistance to those affected by the tornadoes that devastated the Miami Valley area.
- Red Cross shelters are open at:
- Morton Middle School, 855 Peters Pike, Vandalia - 68 people
- The Ridge Church, 7555 Brookville-Phillipsburg Road - 16 people
- Corinthian Baptist Church, 700 N. James H. McGee Blvd. - 52 people
- First Baptist Church of Kettering, 3939 Swigert Road, 16 people
Anyone affected by the storms is welcome for a safe place to stay or to visit a shelter for a meal, water, information or assistance available or to talk to a Red Cross worker or professional crises counselor who will be available.
Red Cross emergency response vehicles, in collaboration with the Salvation Army, will be delivering lunches and water in the neighborhoods affected by the storms. They also will be distributing cleaning and relief supplies in those areas where residents are able to safely return to their homes to begin working on recovery.
The Red Cross said financial donations are the best and quickest way to get help to the people who need it most. Financial donations allow the Red Cross to be flexible in the help it delivers and ensures that they provide what people need most.
The American Red Cross said that currently, most of the volunteers are local.
“We’ve got about 50 volunteers on the ground right now,” said Todd James, director of the North Central Ohio chapter. “Probably over half of those are from this local region.”
However, he anticipates more volunteers from all over the state — and even some from out of state — will head to the Miami Valley to help.
“We’re still within 48 hours of the disaster happening,” James said. “
We’ll have volunteers from, I’m sure, all over the country who are ready and willing to come in and help us with this, but still opportunities for especially for community-based volunteers.”
While most of the organization’s work requires trained volunteers, there are chances for anyone to help.
“We will train you on the spot, and then, if you want to continue and become a registered Red Cross volunteer and learn how to help open up and run a shelter, we will teach you to do that,” James said. “But there are ways to get involved right now.”
Around 130 people stayed in Red Cross shelters last night, said James. He expects that number to increase as people realize they can’t get into their homes.
As the immediate response to tornadoes and severe weather damage winds down, the Red Cross is shifting its focus.
“Now we’re at a point where as we’re continue building the response and we’re looking at what’s coming down the road with recovery, continuing to shelter, starting our mobile feeding routes, getting information out there and getting supplies out to folks that need it,” James said.
For more details on how to volunteer with the Red Cross, visit www.redcross.org or call your local Red Cross office.