RICHMOND, Va. -- Volunteers from across the country are in Richmond at the Red Cross emergency operations center to provide relief in anticipation of Hurricane Florence.
Some Volunteers have been sent down to North Carolina and South Carolina, but others have stayed behind to help support communities across the Commonwealth of Virginia
“This is organized chaos and it’s going to stay that way,” said Pat Meadows with the Richmond chapter of the American Red Cross.
More than 700 volunteers with the American Red Cross have traveled across the country to provide relief in Virginia and the Carolinas.
Jonathan McNamara with the Red Cross says volunteers will be working around the clock.
“Providing food, safe place for people to go, a shoulder to lean on, a shoulder to cry on, which in these situations can be the best things we can do,” explained McNamara.
“Once it’s safe, we will be able to travel down there. Once the need is not huge here in Virginia then we will go down there and relieve those volunteers,” he added.
Meadows tells CBS 6 this will not be a normal deployment.
“Realize with the amount of damage that’s going to be done on the coast. Some of their homes they won’t be able to go back to. So, in the meantime they’re going to have to stay in a shelter until they can find a new place to go to,” she explained.
Volunteers usually stay in the hardest hit areas for two to three weeks, but in this case, no one knows what to expect.
“When that person can wipe their tears off their face and smile and realize there is hope at the end of the tunnel, that makes my day,” said Meadows.
Although the Red Cross is setting up shelters in the Carolinas, Meadows says they also have plans to bring storm victims up to Virginia.
“We are also expecting some of those folks to come up to Richmond and overflow the hotels here. So, we will be setting up shelters here,” said Meadows.
If you would like to help, you can make a donation to the Red Cross by texting the word Florence to 90999. The money helps fund emergency operations, and those who have been impacted by the storm.
Depend on CBS 6 News and WTVR.com for complete coverage of Florence. Click here to track the storm with the CBS 6 Interactive Hurricane Tracker.