Hurricane help: How you can lend a hand

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.- As Hurricane Matthew starts to move on, authorities are getting their first good look at the destruction the storm has left behind. Thousands are still in the dark as crews work to restore power as the massive cleanup begins. And Hoosiers are stepping up to help. Here in Indianapolis, the Red Cross is recruiting volunteers and other outfits are asking for your help as well.

When disaster strikes, Cheryl Hawkins knows how devastating things can be. That’s because she’s been there before as a disaster relief volunteer for the American Red Cross.

“It was an experience I would say anyone should be able to take part of,” said Hawkins.

She’s deployed locally and to Florida once before. This Tuesday, she’ll head south to help those affected by Matthew and right now the Red Cross is looking for more people just like her.

“The training is very simple, you just come in and they take you through the orientation and they tell you about the different groups and you decide what group you’d like to be in,” said Hawkins.

That training is being offered at the Red Cross building in downtown Indianapolis. They’re accepting volunteers and can start the training as soon as you walk in the door to sign up.

“We’re going to do a concerted effort over the next few weeks because the need is heavy down in the southeastern portion of the country,” said Debbi Fletcher, a regional disaster officer with the Red Cross.

As the storm moves on volunteers will be needed to help continue to the relief efforts, but right now the focus is on training people to help at southeastern Red Cross shelters.

“There are about 18,000 people in shelters in Florida and Georgia right now,” said Fletcher, “and that means everything from setting up cots and putting blankets on them to providing services to people.”

And there are other ways to get involved too. For example, the Midwest Food Bank is asking for monetary donations so it can continue to send truckloads of food like this into the disaster zones. They’ve already got several trucks ready to go, but with each load costing around $16,000 to send, they need continued support.

You can find more information about the Red Cross and the Midwest Food Bank by clicking on these links.

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