The East Tennessee chapter of the American Red Cross is deploying volunteers to South Louisiana to help flood victims following a downpour that caused thousands of people to leave their homes.
A group of Americorps volunteers just finished their Red Cross training last week and will be putting their skills to use when they fly into Baton Rouge Tuesday morning.
"I didn't think I was going to use the training for a while, if at all this year," Alex Bonner, an Americorps volunteer said of getting the call for his first Red Cross deployment.
The volunteers will focus first on the immediate needs. The group from East Tennessee will mostly be working in shelters to ensure displaced people have adequate housing. Other volunteers will help feed people and focus on medical needs.
"We're talking about tens of thousands of people displaced," said Michelle Hankes, executive director of American Red Cross East Tennessee. "We have roads that are impassable. We have resources that are hard to get to."
Isaac Hopkins said this will be his first time volunteering in a disaster-relief effort, but he is ready to tackle whatever needs may come up.
"I've always wanted to go out and help people in disaster, but I've never had the chance," Hopkins said. "Now that I actually have the chance, I can actually go out and do something for other people."
Hankes said the deployments usually last about two weeks, and they may send even more volunteers for this particular disaster, depending on the need.
The Red Cross will have training sessions all week to prepare people to head to Louisiana or any other disaster that may come up in the future. Hankes said anyone looking to volunteer can sign up online.