For the American Red Cross, there's no distance too far to travel to lend a helping hand. However, local officials say opening satellites offices in areas throughout the region helps speed up the process.
Last year alone the American Red Cross responded to 130 disasters in the Philadelphia area. Agency officials say they're hopeful the new office there will help increase the number of volunteers from that area.
'With the Red Cross you have to go through our standard operating procedures and our training. It can be from very minimal to very detailed,' says Todd Mosley, who is the Community Response Coordinator for the Philadelphia office.
The coordinator for the East Central Mississippi Chapter's satellite location in Laurel says having a presence in that community significantly speeds up response time to the counties it covers.
'So, they're gearing up and we're able to hit the ground and render the service which is to take care of the community,' says Jacqueline McCullum.
Aside from meeting the humanitarian needs of people within the area, community leaders in Philadelphia say they're optimistic that the new satellite office there could help in economic development efforts.
'I think anytime the Red Cross has a presence in a community, that's an asset and a big plus for that community,' says Annette Watkins, who head of the Community Development Partnership Board.
'Having this resource in our town gives us another piece of that puzzle that makes us a complete community where we care about every part of our citizens lives, whether it be economic development or disaster preparedness. All of these things matter to local industries,' says Philadelphia Mayor James Young.
As we enter the season when this area is most prone to natural disasters, Red Cross officials say donations are needed.
'If they designate that it has to go to Philadelphia we will earmark those dollars for Philadelphia or vice versa. Where it needs to go that's what we'll do. So yes, that money stays local,' says East Mississippi Red Cross Chapter Manager, Alecia Crawford.
The Philadelphia office for the American Red Cross serves: Neshoba, Kemper,Leake,Noxubee, Winston, Choctaw and Attala counties. It's located in the Philadelphia Business Enterprise Building. To donate or volunteer there call (601) 781-4930.