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Local American Red Cross volunteers help Floridians waiting out Hurricane Ian

Local American Red Cross volunteers help Floridians waiting out Hurricane Ian
Posted at 9:54 PM, Sep 28, 2022

COLORADO SPRINGS — More than 500 trained Red Cross disaster workers are currently on the ground in Florida, helping those escaping Hurricane Ian. Several of those workers are volunteers from Colorado Springs.

The support from the red cross started before the storm even hit. Truckloads of blankets, comfort kits, and relief supplies were sent to Florida days ago.

13,000 people spent last night in American Red Cross shelters and partner shelters across Florida to escape the storm. Those at the red cross say they expect more people to join the shelters as the storm progresses.

“We’re preparing for 60,000 people that will utilize a shelter in Florida as we speak,” said

Phil Martinez, executive director of the American Red Cross, Southeastern Colorado.

Over 1800 miles separate Colorado from Florida. But some community members have deep connections there.

“It’s so important. Colorado Springs is one of the military cities throughout the country that really has so many people that reside here. Florida is one of them. And we get lots of phone calls at the Red Cross, “We’ve got relatives out there. Can you help us to reach them?” Said Martinez.

“We need to gather together as a community to help those who are going to be impacted. It is absolutely going to be devastating for them. We have already seen what the winds and the rains have been like but we are expecting a lot of flooding so we need all the help we can get,” said, Catie Ballenger, a volunteer.

“Deploying is really important to me and to a lot of volunteers because we get to be on the ground with the people we are helping. We imagine what it would be like to be in that situation and hope that someone would come and help us,” said Ballenger.

Catie tells me the volunteers have a top priority. That’s to provide comfort to the Floridians as they face the uncertainty of this storm.

“We sleep on cots; we eat the same food they are eating. We are there literally with them to give them comfort and care the entire time that they are in our shelter,” said Ballenger.

Anyone who wishes to donate to the Red Cross to help those battling Hurricane Ian can do so by visiting here. Those at the Colorado Springs Red Cross say they can also use volunteers for future national disasters.

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