It's been nearly two months, but the Red Cross says your help is still needed after those May storms, and they've found a way to make it easier for you to help. Fox 25's Kisha Henry tells us about the new volunteer app that launched Thursday.
It's called Team Red Cross, and it's free in the Apple and Android market. As soon as you download it, you can see a list of needs in any area you choose and start helping immediately.
"We received thousands of phone calls, thousands of volunteers. This office was full of people wanting to help," says Christopher Sommer, a spokesperson for the Red Cross. After the May tornadoes, many people wanted to help, but no one really knew where to start. But, with the new app, anyone can join the team and immediately know their position. "(It helps with) getting our volunteers to mobilize quicker and being aware of what volunteer opportunities there are," says Sommer.
In the Mission Hub, you'll see a list of opportunities. You can receive notifications when one becomes available in your area. "There are things from working in the warehouse to distributing bulk items. You can help with our emergency response vehicles and feeing, passing out meals and food," says Sommer.
Each mission tells you what's required to do it- if there are any age restrictions or physical needs. You can watch a video on exactly what you'll be doing, read safety tips and even test yourself before you go. Each mission you complete, test you take, or volunteer opportunity you pass on will earn you a badge. "You can even share those opportunities with your friends on your social networking sites," says Sommer.
"It just gives me a good feeling in my heart when I'm able to reach out and help the victims," says Carol Irwin, a volunteer with the Red Cross. 96-percent of the Red Cross is run by volunteers like Carol. For the past six years, she's seen firsthand what her time and energy means to those in need. "They are grateful for it. You can see it in their expressions, in their words. They have tears in their eyes and they just want to hug you and never let you go," says Irwin.
The Red Cross says there's still plenty to do. There are missions ready and waiting. "We need volunteers to help with casework, and there are dozens of house fires that happen all the time that we need people to go out and respond to," says Sommer.
With the app at your fingertips, the Red Cross hopes you'll use it to see where your hands are needed. "Now, we're prepared even more for the next disaster to come," says Sommer.
The app also offers information on recovery that you can share with disaster victims.
So far, the Red Cross has seven apps, which have been downloaded by more than three-million people across the country.