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In The Wake of Irene, Consider Disaster-Based Volunteer Opportunities

Ways to get involved in future response and recovery efforts.

Hurricane Irene has passed, but many in our area are still working to clean up and get back on track. Here are some ways that you can get involved in helping now, and in future emergency situations:

1) ServeCorps Disaster Team: ServeRI, the state's hub for volunteer recruitment, has been organizing teams to assist with post-Irene cleanup. Call 401-331-2298 to see how you can still help. You can also consider becoming a member of the ServeCorps Disaster Team, a group of volunteers who are trained to help state and local municipalities in disaster preparation, response and recovery. Different levels of commitment are offered and no experience is required. For more information, please contact Serve Rhode Island: (401) 331-2298 ext. 112 or e-mail disaster@serverhodeisland.org.

2) RI Red Cross: The Red Cross depends on its volunteers to help whenever a large-scale disaster occurs, but they're also critical to the response efforts at house fires in the state, too. The organization uses disaster volunteers to respond to house fires, where they provide food, shelter, clothing and compassion. It also needs emergency shelter volunteers on-call for situations like Irene. Anyone interested in getting involved must participate in 21 hours of training, at no-charge. Courses include Introduction to Disaster, Psychological First Aid, Community First Aid, Adult/Infant/Child CPR with AED, Mass Care: An Overview, Shelter Operations and Shelter Simulation in a Community Shelter. For more information, contact Carol Anderheggen at anderheggenc@usa.redcross.org.

3) RI Disaster Animal Response Team: In times of disaster, RIDART responds by rescuing animals from emergency situations and setting up statewide animal shelters when needed. RIDART is recruiting volunteers who can assist with these efforts. For more information, visit the RI Disaster Animal Response Team volunteers page.

4) Salvation Army: The Salvation Army provides meals to those in need year-round, but volunteers who assist in that service also have the opportunity to work with FEMA, RI-EMA and Providence-EMA in the event of emergencies or disasters. For more info, call Kevin Thomas, Program Director, at (401) 575-2227.

If you're a local whose life is still interrupted by Irene, the Rhode Island Community Food Bank offers this list of area food pantries and meal sites.

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