Inside the Red Cross Emergency Operations Center (EOC) located at the Chicago headquarters, workers monitored news and weather reports coming out of Grundy County, one of the hardest hit areas. It was the second time in less than three years the community had been hit.
Their tasks: tracking tornadoes, assessing damage potential, and recruiting volunteers for disaster relief response. Red Cross staffing recruiter Alicia was tasked with communicating with volunteers across the region, ready to mobilize on limited notice when disaster strikes.
“It’s so inspiring to see how many people want to help,” said Alicia. “When you call someone in the middle of the night and they’re ready to assist, that’s what’s really powerful about this situation.”
As a result of the efforts from coordinators like Alicia, the Red Cross quickly stood up two shelters in Coal City and Sublette for those whose homes were destroyed. Volunteers also distributed food and water at shelters to those who stayed overnight.
As the first 48 hours after any disaster are critical, the Red Cross welcomes anyone who is willing to assist with the relief efforts. If you are interested in volunteering with disaster services please call (312) 729-6100 or email the Disaster Cycle Services department at ChicagoDCS@redcross.org.
Story & Photos By: Alexandra Sobczak, American Red Cross Public Affairs Volunteer