Tennesseans volunteer time, resources to help Hurricane Dorian victims

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — With Hurricane Dorian barreling toward the Southeast coast, volunteers from Tennessee are trying to help people facing serious damage and danger.

Thanks to weather models and projections, Hurricane Dorian didn’t sneak up on the Tennessee Task Force or Red Cross, but that doesn’t change the potential damage that could be done.

“We’ve been watching this for the last week and a half, easily," Sherri McKinney said. "Unfortunately, it’s such a strong and catastrophic storm, we’ve already seen the damage that it’s caused.”

The slow-moving storm has been downgraded to a Category 4, but the Red Cross said it's still the strongest storm in the world for the calendar year of 2019.

They currently have around 50 volunteers assigned to provide relief, while the Tennessee Task Force has sent a group as well, who are currently stationed in Orlando.

“We all have a job, and we’re all given a job before we take off for our deployment," McKinney said. "That is our focus: to get down there and help the people during their worst of times.”

Hurricane Dorian is expected to do a large amount of damage in the southern part of the United States, but volunteers both from the city of Memphis and the greater state of Tennessee said sometimes during such a difficult time, being there for another individual provides the biggest difference of all.

“Sometimes these people just need a hug," McKinney said. "They just need another human to say it’s going to be okay, and we’ll help you get through it. It’s pretty tremendous seeing the faces of these people when they realize they’re not alone.”

Not everyone has the time to pack their bags and volunteer in needed areas for weeks on end, but the Red Cross insists there’s a way for everyone to help.

“Every dollar counts in this effort, and it is going to be historic," McKinney said.

Below are ways you can donate to Hurricane Dorian relief efforts.

  • Visit redcross.org
  • Call 1-800-RED-CROSS
  • Text "Dorian" to 90999 to make a $10 donation
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