Volunteers Needed

Local help is being solicited to aid victims of Hurricane Sandy.

As of Friday morning, ABC was reporting almost 100 deaths due to the storm and that roughly 4.5 million people in the northeastern part of the U.S. still did not have electricity.

To aid in the recovery effort, there's a call for more volunteers from here to help there.

Newscenter 11 discovered Meridian resident, Kenneth Hayes, at the local Red Cross office Friday donating to the Hurricane Sandy Relief effort.

'I'm donating because in my lifetime I've been where I've needed help, and I know those people need help,' says Hayes.

Aside from monetary donations volunteers are also needed.

For the past 8 years Wayne Long has been a volunteer with the American Red Cross office in Meridian. He could possibly leave to volunteer in the northeast within the next week.

'I'm ready,' says Long. 'Red Cross volunteers stay prepared to go when they're needed.'

'This is our chance to give back to all the emergency responders in the northern states who have come down and helped us in the past,' says East Central Mississippi Red Cross Readiness and Response Manager, Gordon Stewart.

The East Central office for the Red Cross in Mississippi has 157 trained volunteers. Of those, there are currently five deployed to help with disaster recovery in the northeast. With them expected to be gone anywhere from 14 to 21 days, officials say there's a need for more volunteers, even right here at home.

'Basically right now we need people to do office work,' says East Central Mississippi Red Cross Volunteer Coordinator, Viola Jackson. 'With the increase in fires we need people to do case/client work and we also just need people to help us coordinate and go out into the community and help us build relationships.'

For more information on how to volunteer or donate to the East Central Chapter of the American Red Cross call 601-485-5151, go by the office at 1820 23rd Avenue in Meridian or visit the website. A link is provided below.

So far, eleven Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicles from Mississippi and 57 volunteers from the agency have been deployed to the northeast to help.