Volunteers reach out to victims

Katie Alberti

NE Ohio residents respond to Red Cross’ call for volunteers

Mike Rosso, sophomore marketing major, donates $20 to Save the South, a Hurricane Katrina relief effort in the Tri-Towers Rotunda Wednesday evening. Students were able to donate money or perishable goods in hopes of reaching a $500 goal.

Credit: Ben Breier

After Hurricane Katrina devastated parts of the South last week, the American Red Cross launched its biggest disaster-relief campaign ever, which included people from Portage County.

Scott McKinney, director of the Portage County Red Cross, said this was an important situation for their organization to handle.

“This is a very significant event for us,” McKinney said. “This is the largest single disaster that the American Red Cross has ever dealt with before.”

Since the hurricane occurred, McKinney said he does not know how many volunteers have officially gone down south from both Portage and Summit counties, but said there are many volunteers currently in training.

“Since both Portage and Summit County branches work closely together, I do not know off the top of my head how many people from this area are in the South already,” McKinney said.

Joelle Tedford, director of marketing and public relations for the Portage County Red Cross, said after volunteers are trained, they are eligible to volunteer all over the country.

“There are a lot of volunteers still in training and we will send down as many people as we can,” Tedford said.

Ida Hamilton has been a volunteer for the Portage County Red Cross since February 2005, and she plans on volunteering wherever she is needed in November.

“If I wasn’t working full-time, I’d be gone already,” Hamilton said. “I don’t care where the Red Cross sends me; I’ll go wherever people need me.”

According to McKinney, there are various locations where volunteers will be stationed.

“We have many different places volunteers can go throughout Florida, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Texas,” McKinney said. “We want to help all of the Red Cross chapters in the area …”

Although college students may not be able to give up time to volunteer in the south, McKinney said they can still help those in need.

“By making a financial contribution to the American Red Cross, students can help those who need it the most right now,” McKinney said. “Sending clothes and food doesn’t help. It costs too much to store, ship and send the goods. By sending money, residents are able to get exactly what they need in a faster manner.”

Contact social services reporter Katie Alberti at [email protected].