ROCHESTER, Minn. - With wildfires happening in the west, hurricanes ripping through towns in the south and the coronavirus pandemic putting restrictions on all of us, the American red cross is in dire need of volunteers.
Just from southeast Minnesota, 12 volunteers have traveled all across the country, lending an extra hand where it's needed. However, it hasn't been easy finding those volunteers. When you first hear about a natural disaster, it never fails that the American Red Cross is right there helping those effected. But without volunteers, they wouldn't be able to do any of it. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a dramatic decrease in volunteers for the red cross.
Melanie Tschida with the Rochester location explained there are many different ways you can help out. You can volunteer right from home for some behind the scenes work, but she said traveling to places where the fires are happening and hurricanes are occurring is what they need the most. "It's very rewarding to sit and spend some time with someone who has just been through this event and identify resources that they didn't know that were available to them," said Tschida. "Or help them make plans when they haven't felt like they had the ability to start making plans yet. Here it turns out that they do because they just needed someone to sit by them and help them do that."
Tschida explained if you aren't able to help out with with natural disasters happening in other states, you can volunteer to help out locally. Because they need extra hands when disasters strike here, such as house fires or help with blood drives. There is a training process you have to go through before you can volunteer and keep in mind, a deployment might not happen right away. If you'd like to volunteer your time, you can head to their website.