AmeriCorps workers swelling volunteer ranks for Red Cross

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG TV9)- The Red Cross is tapping a new source of volunteers in eastern Iowa to aid in the national recovery efforts in Florida, Georgia and Texas.

About 30 members of Vinton-based AmeriCorps teams go through orientation at the Cedar Rapids Red Cross office. A total of 91 team members in all will be "loaned" to the Red Cross to go to disaster relief efforts in Florida, Georgia and Texas.

Ninety one members of the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps program based in Vinton have been “loaned” to the Red Cross for duty in shelters in those three southern states. Members of those AmeriCorps teams put their other work on hold to go to orientation on Monday and a likely departure on Tuesday.

Team members filled out paperwork and got final instructions on deploying at the Red Cross office in Cedar Rapids.

One Red Cross worker told the group more than half will end up in Florida which now has the most wide spread damage. But going to Georgia and Texas is also a possibility.

Anastasia Baier, an AmeriCorps volunteer originally from Hollywood, Florida, said she’d like to go back and help out in her home state.

“Yeah, I’d want to go back to my home area or where ever most needed,” she said.

Brandon Moncrief says he grew up in San Antonia, about a three hour drive from the Houston area hit by Hurricane Harvey, and hoped he’d be assigned there.

“When a disaster happened, a lot of us hoped we’d get to go down there and help out,” Moncrief said.

Ryan Martin, a team leader of one of the AmeriCorps groups, said nonprofits counting on AmeriCorps help with other projects are being told now all of that is on hold.

“I tell them, hey you know what you signed up for. These are disaster relief responders and we will send another team out tpo you if we get an opportunity before the end of the year,” he said.

All AmeriCorps workers go through a training period with the Red Cross on how to work on disaster recovery.

About three quarters of all the AmeriCorps teams based in Vinton will be sent to help the Red Cross.