An Altoona man is currently volunteering in California where the state has been pounded by severe weather since the year began.
The American Red Cross even says this could be the first billion dollar disaster of the year.
We spoke with an American Red Cross official who says there are already 600 volunteers in California right now one of those volunteers from Altoona but the American Red Cross needs all the help it can get.
California has been hit by floods, landslides, road closures, sinkholes and more since the beginning of 2023.
“This is the Red Cross’ first major disaster response for the year, These back to back storms maybe leaving behind a billion dollars in damage.”
Roschella implies the extent of damages across California is severe and the Red Cross can use all the volunteers and help they can get.
“We have more than 600 American Red Cross Volunteers in California right now and they’re there to set up shelters, make sure there’s hot meals for these families to eat, also giving them emotional support and comfort during a really difficult time,”
Out of those 600 volunteers Roschella says ten are from Pennsylvania.
“We have volunteers from across the state there right now. The western part all the way over to the Leigh High Valley, And one of them is from Altoona.”
Roschella says the volunteer from Altoona is participating in his first deployment with the American Red Cross with this trip to California where, “he’s there to do damage assessment. That’s going out into the communities seeing which areas are impacted most and going to need the most help. And then the red cross will be there for the days and weeks to come to help those people in those areas recover.”
“He told me he was being dispatched to an area where there wouldn’t be any service.”
Roschella adds there are so many ways we can help the Red Cross with disasters like this whether its actually going out of the area to volunteer or by staying here in P.A.
“In California, it’s definitely going to be a while to rebuild A billion dollars is a lot and we need all the help we can get.”
For those interested in volunteering or donating to the American Red Cross, you can call 1-800-RED-CROSS or 1-800-733-2767