Virginia Red Cross volunteers help with relief efforts in Mississippi after deadly tornadoes
Deadly tornadoes in Mississippi and Alabama killed at least 26 people over the weekend
HENRICO, Va. (WWBT) - Virginia Red Cross volunteers are on the ground in Mississippi and ready to deploy in the coming days and weeks after tornadoes tore through neighborhoods in Mississippi and Alabama, killing at least 26 people and leaving behind a trail of destruction.
Corey Baker, pastor of Healing Hearts Ministries in Chester, is one of the Red Cross volunteers traveling to Mississippi on Tuesday morning out of Richmond International Airport to help with relief efforts.
“I’m hoping I can go down there and help them rebuild their faith,” said Pastor Baker. “With any type of devastation, it’s easy to repurchase material things, but it’s so hard to build people’s faith in times like this.”
On the ground, Baker said he will focus on spiritual care.
“When I get there, what I’m going to do is speak to the people, pray with the people, talk with the people, and, most importantly, just listen to the people,” said Baker.
Jonathan McNamara, communications director with the American Red Cross in Virginia, told NBC12 three volunteers from Virginia are on the ground helping with relief efforts in Mississippi. In the next 24 hours, additional regional volunteers will join them.
“When you’re dealing with a tornado of this magnitude that not only causes significant loss of life but also a significant amount of damage to property in those areas,” said McNamara. “Over 2,000 homes impacted by this event. This is what we’re here for.”
McNamara said volunteers will typically be deployed between two and three weeks depending on availability and needs within the community.
From supporting shelters to delivering meals, McNamara said volunteers would coordinate with local partners to provide assistance to those in need.
“Sometimes it’s a hot meal, sometimes it’s a shelter, sometimes it’s a shoulder to cry on after these types of events,” said McNamara. “Our volunteers are trained, they’re prepared, and they’ll be going out not only over the next 24 hours but once again over the weeks to come.”
As volunteers prepare to head down to Mississippi, Pastor Baker hopes to make a difference in the lives of those dealing with this devastation.
“I was taught, you know, do unto others as you would have them do unto you, so it means so much to me to be able to go down there and not so much as repay, but again restore,” said Pastor Baker.
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