Yesterday I volunteered at one of the three Red Cross
Mega-Centers here in Atlanta. Wow, I am so glad that I helped out – it was an amazing experience. I just thought that I would share a few of the images that will stick with me. I drove up to the center, which is housed in an old Walmart building, an hour and a half before it opened. And there was already a line of evacuees looped back and forth in front of the building. There were 3 or 4 tour buses unloading into the line. I was shocked, here we are two weeks later and these people are just now getting connected with the Red Cross. (Which by the way is a fantastic organization - totally based on dontions with no goverment money!)
After the initial shock of the enormity of the line, I went inside and saw an amazing setup. There was the public health area (in the old optometry section,) a childcare section (in the old customer service area,) labor department, department of education, mental health, family services, FEMA (with two people working) and lots of different rescue missions and donation sites. It was phenomenal.
So I snuck into training, really. They called my name for the time, but I hadn’t trained, so I joined a group of sneaky women and we just casually walked into a training room. It was sneaky, but we really wanted to help and the volunteer process was a little disorganized!!
Then they threw us out onto the floor as caseworkers. We distributed donated
money to the clients. Some of the people were so grateful. They praised GOD and just really had faith that he was still in control. Amazing. Some of the mothers looked really tired, they were living in a hotel room with their whole family, or even their cars still. But at least I was at the end of the line – so I got to give the people what they wanted and had waited hours to receive.
I had one women in labor go through my line. LITERALLY!! Standing outside in the line and then waiting to go through all the other lines in the building she had gone into labor!! The public health nurses were with her and she was having contractions while she answered my questions, it was a little unnerving!! But we got her some aid and sent her off to the nearest hospital!!
It was an amazing experience. I heard stories of water, fierce winds, and loss. I cannot even fathom what these people have been through. I have three more shifts this week, there are 15,000 more people expected to go through the center this week.