With Hurricane Irma taking aim at Florida, and the Texas Gulf Coast still reeling from Harvey, Minnesota relief workers are now being deployed on two fronts.
Nine Minnesota volunteers with the American Red Cross are headed to Florida in anticipation of Irma’s arrival later this week.
The Minnesota chapter of the Red Cross got the call this weekend and some of the volunteers will be awaiting the storm’s arrival in Orlando, said spokeswoman Carrie Carlson-Guest.
Meanwhile, the number of Minnesota Red Cross aid workers helping along the Texas Gulf Coast in the wake of Harvey has risen to 58. Five mobile-feeding trucks from Minnesota are in Texas.
Volunteers are working in emergency shelters, helping with logistics and assisting mental health counseling. Information technology volunteers are setting up communication networks, Carlson-Guest said.
“We still have 30,000 people in shelters and 284 Red Cross and Red Cross-supported shelters,” she said.
Nine Salvation Army volunteers who are trained in disaster relief flew Saturday from Minnesota to Little Rock, Ark., where they picked up food trucks and drove them to Texas.
In addition to providing safe food and water, workers “provide emotional and spiritual care,” said spokeswoman Julie Borgen.
The Salvation Army also gives out comfort kits with hygiene products and cleaning kits with buckets, mops and bleach.
Borgen said that the Salvation Army’s Roseville-based Northern Division — which covers Minnesota and North Dakota — waited until the national organization and Southern Division asked for help.
So far, the best help the northern states can offer is financial.
“What we are encouraging now is financial gifts. Part of it is the logistics of getting things down there,” Borgen said.
Borgen said the agency is keeping a list of people volunteering items and equipment, such as generators, for when the time comes to provide that type of material support.