Local Volunteers to Help in California

By: Jessica Aspiras Email
By: Jessica Aspiras Email

As the California wildfires continue to rage on, Red Cross volunteers, Joan Meinke and Jack Oliver, tie up loose ends -- confirming flight numbers and signing paperwork before they head west.

"[It's my] Christian duty, helping people who need it," says Oliver. "I've got the time. They need the help."

Meinke adds, "I understand in some small way the tremendous need of the victims there to be cared for."

As of Tuesday, seven volunteers from Mid-Michigan's Red Cross Chapter had been assigned to the California disasters -- with two having already left by that afternoon -- the others within 24 hours.

"We've got other people trying to rearrange their schedules here at home to see if they'll be able to go in later days."

Emergency Response Coordinator, Rachelle Wood, says the volunteers will work for three weeks. And when they return, more may be sent to replace them.

"This could go on for quite a while, because once it's [to] the point where people are evacuated and can go back home, those that have lost their homes, we'll need to continue to shelter and feed them."

Despite the work that lies ahead, volunteers say they wouldn't think twice about helping out again.

"What I get back is the knowledge that we are assisting them in a time of what might be their greatest need," says Meinke.

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