Red Cross volunteers warm hearts

By Elizabeth Vowell – email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) –  With temperatures steadily dropping, the American Red Cross is preparing shelters to provide sanctuary from the cold for those who are in need.

"This situation gives the Red Cross a chance to really play up its main roles in the community. We bring the right people to the table to solve the community's problem," said Red Cross volunteer Catherine Gautier.

During the winter months temporary shelters open up throughout South Mississippi. Coordinating a home for those who need it takes a village of volunteers providing food and supplies.

"There's a lot of coordination.  There is a lot of logistics involved in getting all the supplies and the equipment organized and in the right place and transporting it," explained volunteer Katherine Tharp.

While volunteering with the Red Cross might seem like an intimidating task, the volunteers said it's actually very easy. The Red Cross even holds training classes to teach workers how to handle every task and responsibility.

"Everybody is out here just to help everybody else," said Don Davis who started volunteering after the Red Cross provided him temporary shelter.

For many of these workers, volunteering is way of paying forward for times when they received a helping hand.

"I started volunteering after Katrina. After Katrina, I just realized how much of a need there was," said Tharp. "I was displaced at the time, staying in a Motel, and I just realized how very frustrated I was unable to do anything to improve anyone's situation."

Red Cross members said the volunteers are the heart of the organization, and they are always looking for more.  Anyone interested in volunteering should contact the Biloxi office.

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