Red Cross volunteers from KY helping WV flood victims - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Red Cross volunteers from KY helping WV flood victims

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Red Cross disaster teams conduct damage assessments throughout communities impacted by severe flooding in West Virginia. Photo credit: American Red Cross. Red Cross disaster teams conduct damage assessments throughout communities impacted by severe flooding in West Virginia. Photo credit: American Red Cross.
American Red Cross Regional Chief Development Officer Jeremy Jarvi says 91 cents of every dollar donated goes back to client services. American Red Cross Regional Chief Development Officer Jeremy Jarvi says 91 cents of every dollar donated goes back to client services.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Representatives and volunteers from Kentucky's American Red Cross are in West Virginia focusing on helping people recover.

We spoke with American Red Cross Regional Chief Development Officer Jeremy Jarvi. He says volunteers from Kentucky are already helping families who have lost everything. 

"We have deployed 12 people from the Kentucky region alone," Jarvi said. "Over 450 workers are on the ground right now, primarily volunteers, including our CEO from the Kentucky region, Jennifer Adrio."

Jarvi says Red Cross workers have been assessing the damage and determining people's needs since the flooding started last Thursday. Thousands of homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed and at least 23 people were killed when up to nine inches of rain fell in a short span, causing perhaps the worst flooding the state has seen in three decades. More than 400 people are living in shelters across the state.

"Being that West Virginia is a neighbor, we have a lot of folks who are interested in supporting the effort," Jarvi said. "Other than deploying volunteers and staff, we have about 23 emergency vehicles there ... helping do mobile feeding." 

Jarvi says some people will never be able to return to their homes because they have been destroyed. 

"There are currently 1,800 homes that are either destroyed or have major damage," Jarvi said. The response to the disaster is the shortest part. What we're really in the business of doing is helping them recover. You don't really understand the magnitude of a disaster until it happens to you."

Besides food and shelter, volunteers are handing out shovels and buckets, and cleanup kits to neighborhoods. 

If you'd like to help, visit http://redcross.org/donate, call 1-800-RED-CROSS or call the Kentucky chapter directly at 502-561-3619. Monetary contributions may also be sent to your local Red Cross chapter, or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 1675, Louisville, KY 40201-1675.

"We have a 95 percent volunteer base, which allows us to put 91 cents of every dollar back to client services. So people who donate and support the work of the Red Cross know their money is going to the right spot," Jarvi said. 

"Disasters like this are unbudgeted dollars, so we really rely on community support."

The Red Cross will remain in West Virginia for months to help flood victims. 

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