ST. CLOUD -- When a natural disaster strikes, a group of individuals are ready to jump into action and provide care and support to an area in need. That group is the American Red Cross.

Better known for donating blood, the American Red Cross helps out with many different things, including disasters outside the community, says Red Cross Volunteer Judy Pike.

"We are working with our communities and partners, such as the police, the fire," says

Pike. "To do preparedness in case there is an emergency, and when there is an emergency Red Cross is there to open up a shelter and make sure people are fed."

When the American Red Cross is called to a disaster, they first bring essentials like food and water. Items like these are just enough to get started until the situation can be fully evaluated.

A majority that make up the American Red Cross are volunteers. Volunteers can work many different levels within the organization based on their interest of service says Pike.

"There are all sorts of different levels of response that you can do, depending on what your interest level is."

That can include helping with blood donations, being on the response, or natural disaster teams.

When called to the scene of a disaster there are two things that register in a Red Cross volunteers mind.

Pike says the first is what is the need at that moment, and second what the need for the long haul.

"You know shelter, food, what's there immediate need. From there we move out and say ok what's there long term need," says Pike.

The American Red Cross has many chapters where people can volunteer, including one in St. Cloud. If you are interested becoming a volunteer visit the American Red Cross in your area.

"We'd love to have anyone give a call," says Pike. "And we will start you in the process of volunteer application."

 

Red Cross volunteer Judy Pike, talks about how they serve those in disasters. (Photo: Alex Svejkovsky, WJON News)

 

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