“Volunteer Florida” is making sure all the help gets to where it's needed most and response is coming in from across the nation.
Calls are pouring in to this hastily assembled call center, where a small army of volunteers is coordinating offers of aid from all over the country to help victims of Hurricane Charley.
Volunteer Glorey Baldwin is on the phone with a middle school teacher in South Carolina, where more than 200 6th graders want to send needed supplies to a school damaged by the hurricane.
Glorey Baldwin says, “I matched her to Kissimmee Middle School. She was so sweet. I just enjoyed that. It was so great. The volunteers manning the phones themselves are from all over. This group is from Americorps, and these people just came in from the community to help out.”
Former Miami resident Tom Darby knows first-hand what victims are going through. He survived weeks without power after Hurricane Andrew.
Tom Darby, a volunteer, says, “You miss the creature comforts that everyone is used to and I felt very strongly that I wanted to do something to help these people that have gone through Hurricane Charley.”
Volunteer Florida coordinator Wendy Spencer is overwhelmed by the outpouring of support. She hopes it doesn’t fade away.
Wendy Spencer with Volunteer Florida, says, “What typically happens in an emergency is everybody wants to help the first week, but unfortunately many of the needs are going to be 4 and 5 and 6 weeks out.”
She says the call center will be up and running for at least two months trying to ensure every offer of help gets to someone in need.
The Volunteer Florida call center is averaging 150 calls an hour. They still need help answering all those ringing phones. To sign up for a shift, call 1-800-354-3571.