Shelters Reopen

As of late Thursday afternoon, Hurricane Rita was taking a slight turn to the east, something which could cause it to have more of an affect on Louisiana than first thought. Along with this it could mean more evacuees heading this way.

In emergency preparation for this, the local Red Cross is preparing to open a second shelter.

"We're putting another shelter on hold, and that will be Poplar Springs Baptist, and they are going to possibly help us feed shelter number one until they have to open shelter number two," says local Red Cross Executive Director Cheri Barry.

As for shelter number one, that's at the Frank Cochran Center where about a week ago almost two dozen evacuees from Hurricane Katrina were brought as part of an effort to consolidate all of the Red Cross shelters. With more evacuees expected in the area, Red Cross officials say more volunteers are needed as well!

"People are just worn out," says Barry. "They truly are. When you have to man a shelter for 24 hours a day, seven days a week, it's just really hard to do."

It’s hard, but not impossible. After all, Meridian's Red Cross chapter is now in its fourth week of assisting not only evacuees but local storm victims as well. With more volunteers direly needed, Barry says all required coursework that's needed to become a volunteer has been waived for now.

Anyone interested in volunteering is asked to call the local Red Cross at (601) 485-5151 or just go by its office at 1820 23rd Avenue.

"You can never be too old or too young," says Barry. "We can find something for everybody to do!"