As Hurricane Maria hits Puerto Rico, the American Red Cross calls for more help

American Red Cross volunteers are already in Puerto Rico, but more will need to be deployed

September 14, 2017. Red Cross shelter, Miami-Dade County fairgrounds, Miami. Ithream, wrapped in Red Cross blanket while getting lunch. Photo by Marko Kokic for The American Red Cross

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) –  If the Red Cross was spreading its resources thin before, it has now added the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico to the list of places that need help, due to Hurricane Maria.

We are at the peak of hurricane season right now, and this year, we’ve seen more storms than normal. People have been coming out to volunteer for the American Red Cross more than ever before, but the need for new volunteers is still continuing to rise.

“Now phase two [of relief] is in place, and working to become in place wherever it’s needed as people go back to their houses and try to get back to their daily routines”, said Jen Garutti, the Executive Director of the American Red Cross of Western Massachusetts.

A daily routine may be a long time coming for many people.

3,200 people in Florida are still in shelters, and 4,000 people still can’t go home or don’t have a home to go back to in Houston. Since Hurricane Harvey hit Houston, 500 people have signed up to volunteer with the Red Cross in Massachusetts.

“We’re proud of that number and we’re really really happy that people have come to us to get trained up”, says Garutti.

And yet, that number is still not enough.

Wednesday, the board of directors had a meeting to discuss hurricane relief, among other topics of concern.

Click here for more information about how to become a Red Cross disaster volunteer.