Red Cross begins local training for possible Harvey volunteers

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (WHDH) – The American Red Cross of Massachusetts worked on training more volunteers Wednesday in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. Training is taking place at their Cambridge headquarters throughout the week.

The Mass. chapter is also preparing people to go to Texas in the coming weeks and months. As of Wednesday, the chapter had already sent 42 people and two emergency response vehicles down to Texas.

Robert Picard, a Brookline resident, is one of the 42 Red Cross volunteers deployed from Mass. He is stationed in South Houston, where he is working to get supplies to 130 shelters in his district.

“Our priority now is to get those supply lines going to all the shelters,” said Picard.

With six percent of their disaster volunteer workforce down in Texas, the Mass. headquarters in Cambridge needs assistance in responding to local fires, answering phones and scheduling classes.

“There’s hundreds of things that we need help with here,” said Red Cross Regional Disaster Officer Tim Pitoniek.

Nationally, the Red Cross says 18,000 people have filled out volunteer applications since Harvey hit, and they’re ready to train them all to help out.

Red Cross of Mass. said training will include an overview of the Harvey response so far, how to help in shelters, how to help in local disasters and how to help those affected by Harvey remotely. Case workers will be needed to help people get back on their feet and connect with social services.

Deploying to Texas with the Red Cross requires a two week commitment. Training will be held Wednesday, 6–9 p.m., Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., at the Cambridge headquarters. Additionally, volunteers can go to training sessions at the Springfield officer from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, and at the Worcester office from 1-4 p.m. on Sunday.

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