(WSPA) – Volunteers from right here in South Carolina are headed to Hawaii hoping to help those affected by the massive fires.
Six disaster-trained volunteers from The American Red Cross of South Carolina will assist in opening shelters, as well as providing food and emotional support during this difficult time.
“I am about to join them in the next 24 hours,” said Mandy McMahon, regional communications director for the Red Cross of South Carolina. “The American Red Cross has a very large operation in the works. We are busy getting resources to the people who need them most right on the islands of Maui and Hawaii right now.”
McMahon said she has worked disaster relief cases prior to this one, but in a situation as this, what to expect is always unknown.
“I have never seen a wildfire like this before but how it has been described to me is it is just a landscape in black and white, really, really sad,” McMahon said. “This has been an incredibly deadly disaster. It is a very deep-rooted community, folks have lost everything they own and then in some cases their loved ones.”
While those living in Hawaii are battling this natural disaster, travel agents say their clients who had plans to vacation to the beautiful island are having to be more flexible with their plans.
“We have to have tremendous empathy for them,” said Angie Geiger, co-owner of Angie Geiger & Kari Vest Dream Vacations. “But at the same time, we do need to have empathy for people who are going in a week or two days. It is easy to say, they should just focus on the people there now, but a lot of these trips are bucket lists, once in a lifetime, very expensive, special event trips. It can be a family reunion they have planned for two years.”
Many who live on the island and even those who are just traveling, are stuck with no place to go. The American Red Cross of South Carolina said volunteers, trained in disaster relief will fill a variety of roles while working around the clock to assist those in need.
“We have folks that are professionals in logistics, so they are working hard to get the resources on the ground,” McMahon said. “We also have folks that are licensed therapists that are helping, we have registered nurses that help replace prescriptions, and eyeglasses and all those things’ people might have lost when their homes have burned.”
The American Red Cross said volunteers will be in Hawaii assisting for a minimum of three weeks.
YOU CAN HELP people affected by disasters like wildfires and countless other crises by making a gift to Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. Visit redcross.org, call 1-800-RED-CROSS (800-733-2767), or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
BECOME A VOLUNTEER Every day, the American Red Cross sees the heartbreak of people trying to cope with more intense storms, heavier rainfall, higher temperatures, stronger hurricanes, and more devastating wildfires. As more people rely on the Red Cross for help, the need for compassionate volunteers has never been greater. This spring, consider volunteering with the American Red Cross in one of our urgently needed volunteer opportunities. Learn more at redcross.org/volunteer