San Diego

American Red Cross of San Diego in ‘Desperate Need' of Volunteers for Harvey Relief

American Red Cross of San Diego & Imperial Counties seeks volunteers for 14 day deployments

As dozens of San Diegans prepare to deploy to the front lines of the Harvey disaster zones, the American Red Cross of San Diego/Imperial Counties put out a plea for more help.

Shelter volunteers are one of the organization's most pressing needs as it prepares to operate the temporary housing quarters in Texas, Louisiana, and parts of Tennessee.

Tish Alcantara, of Oceanside, California, was one of 17 people who showed up to a Saturday morning "Shelter Boot Camp" in San Diego designed to quickly get volunteers up to speed on the requirements of a deployment with the Red Cross to the Harvey-ravaged front lines.

Alcantara said she is excited to help and doesn't mind the simple accommodations for volunteers, which includes sleeping on cots, also in shelters.

Volunteers like Vista resident Merrill Peterson said the images on television provoked their desire to serve.

"You see little babies being held up by mothers, and mothers heads almost submerged in the water, how can you not be compelled to help?" Peterson told NBC 7.

While many San Diegans may have the desire to aid in the relief efforts, getting time off to meet the 14-day deployment requirement can be one of the toughest hurdles.

The Red Cross said volunteers must be available for two weeks straight to keep travel costs down and efficiency high. Volunteers must also be at least 18 years old and in good health.

While the Red Cross has 4,000 volunteers deployed to the disaster zones already, the organization is hoping to recruit thousands of new volunteers who will be able to backfill shelter positions needed over the next several months.

Currently, 20 San Diegans are deployed, but that number will likely double or triple by the end of next week as newly-trained volunteers begin to deploy.

Another Shelter Boot Camp will be held Sunday in San Diego and Imperial Valley, from 8 a.m. to noon.

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