Are you ready? Nacogdoches Red Cross volunteers prepare shelter kits

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Pre-disaster planning is what the American Red Cross promotes worldwide. Nacogdoches Red Cross volunteers practiced some of their own advice Wednesday.

Red Cross volunteer Bobbie Ann Anderson teaches volunteers at all ages about the importance of preparing for a disaster.

Red Cross volunteers assemble shelter kits. The boxes are filled with office supplies and some of the basic needs for the very first shelter arrivals.

The kits were delivered to designated shelters around town and in the county Wednesday.

"And so we wanted you to have this to be prepared in case we have to open," Anderson said to Bobby Smith, the associate pastor of the First Baptist Church of Nacogdoches. "Yeah, we hope we don't have to."

However, they are willing to help should the need arise.

"We have eight standing agreements with six churches and two municipal facilities, which is a wonderful number for a community our size," Anderson said.

The partnership is taken seriously. Red Cross was considered by First Baptist during its recent renovation.

"So we have showers and updated all those facilities," Smith said. "Even have a handicap shower."

They're beneficial services as volunteers transition people out of a shelter as soon as they arrive.

"We try to use words with them like, 'Where will you go" or 'where's your next place to stay?'" Anderson said.

It's a message this volunteer doesn't mind explaining.

"Professionally, I'm a social worker, so it just kinda goes hand and hand for me to be able to help out my community," said Ruby Ramon, a Red Cross volunteer.

The shelter kits provide immediate assistance. During hurricane season Red Cross stores in Nacogdoches enough supplies for 1,600 people. Being prepared is what it's all about.

Anyone can help out in a shelter. You can start learning about the responsibilities as early as tomorrow evening. Red Cross will be conducting a shelter fundamentals workshop tomorrow from 5-9 p.m. at Fredonia Hill Baptist Church on South Street in Nacogdoches. Then, on July 30th, "Disaster Services: an Overview" will be conducted from 8 a.m. to noon at East Texas Community Health Services on South University Drive.

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