Red Cross resources stretch thin during busy hurricane season

Just think about all of the hurricanes this season then add those thousands of people affected by those wildfires. More than two thousand is shelters last night. Making staggering new data when it comes to disaster relief.

NORFOLK, Va (WVEC) – American Red Cross volunteers Steve Clayton and Stephanie Stringer say this hear has been unlike any other.

"It's been a very unusual year in a very short period of time,” said Clayton.

The veteran volunteers started out by handing out supplies in Texas during Hurricane Harvey.

"It just rained and rained and rained and rained," said Stringer. “It’s a lot of hard work and long days.”

The couple is currently waiting to be deployed again.

This comes after Hurricanes Harvey, Maria and Irma caused widespread devastation to coastal communities and Puerto Rico.

Local Red Cross officials say the newly released statistics on shelter stays are “unprecedented”.

"We’ve seen more people in the last seven weeks than we have in the last five years combined," said Executive Director for the Red Cross Coastal Virginia office, Marissa Nihill.

According the Red Cross, more than six million meals have been handed out in hurricane ravaged communities. That’s more food than in the past four years combined.

With recent wildfires in California destroying homes, Nihill says the need continues to grow. And those in Hampton Roads have answered the call.

"We've sent about 40 people from the Hampton Roads area to various states,” said Nihill. "We've had people from the Hampton Roads area who went from Texas, came home repacked and went to Florida."

There have also been people who deployed to Las Vegas to help with mental health after a deadly mass shooting.

Anyone who wants to donate or volunteer can visit the American Red Cross website.

"It all costs money, so 91 cents of every dollar, I think it's important for people to know that is going to the mission,” said Nihill.

© 2017 WVEC-TV


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