Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) has prepositioned volunteers in Florida, in advance of Hurricane Irma, at the request of the American Red Cross. CDS staff have learned that the Red Cross anticipates there will be over 120,000 people in evacuee shelters in Florida.
Meanwhile, CDS volunteers also continue to work in Texas, serving children and families affected by Hurricane Harvey. Before Harvey made landfall on Aug. 25 near Corpus Christi, Texas, teams of CDS volunteers were activated and ready to travel. By early September, about 30 volunteers had already cared for more than 300 children in Texas.
“We’re here in Orlando [Fla.] with a team of seven from Children’s Disaster Services,” reported associate director Kathleen Fry-Miller by e-mail on Friday. “Our CDS team is ready to deploy to a Red Cross evacuation shelter tomorrow [Saturday] or just after Irma passes. All Red Cross workers, including us as partner Red Crossers, need to be sheltering in place by noon tomorrow. CDS has more volunteers ready to deploy next week.
“We'll see what the next few days bring! Prayers for families here in Florida,” she wrote.
CDS is a part of Brethren Disaster Ministries. Since 1980 it has met the needs of children by setting up child care centers in shelters and disaster assistance centers across the nation. Specially trained to respond to traumatized children, CDS volunteers provide a calm, safe, and reassuring presence in the midst of the chaos created by disasters.