BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The American Red Cross has over 1,600 volunteers ready to respond to Hurricane Dorian. Nine of those volunteers are from the local Western and Central New York chapter.
"It always amazes me the number of people coming together," said Jay Bonafede, the Regional Communications Officer with the Western and Central New York Red Cross.
Bonafede said the first step is getting shelters and food ready.
"Making sure that we have food and water, cots, and blankets in safe locations for everyone is really going to be our main focus at first," he said.
The next step is helping people return to their homes. That's why volunteers from our area will be in Florida and South Carolina for about two weeks.
Bonafede said Western New York will likely be sending aftermath supplies like tarps, buckets, and bleach.
He said volunteers make up about 90% of the Red Cross's workforce, volunteers like Jim Collingwood of Amherst.
Collingwood is currently in South Carolina making sure shelters are safe and secure. He has done about half a dozen relief trips and said helping people in their time of need is the reason to keep going back.
"They just are so grateful, and they're giving you hugs, and they're thanking you," Collingwood said. "And you just know you've done a little to help these people who are going through such a traumatic experience."
For Western New Yorkers who want to get involved, Bonafede said the best thing to do is donate your time or money.
- To donate money text DORIAN to 90999 to make a $10 donation
- Click here for volunteer opportunities with the Western New York Red Cross