Volunteers from the American Red Cross in St. Louis deploy to as - KMOV.com

Volunteers from the American Red Cross in St. Louis deploy to assist with Hurricane Harvey

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Volunteers from the Red Cross in St. Louis will provide food, manage shelters, arrange transportation and be a help to 20,000 people in the path of Hurricane Harvey. Credit: KMOV Volunteers from the Red Cross in St. Louis will provide food, manage shelters, arrange transportation and be a help to 20,000 people in the path of Hurricane Harvey. Credit: KMOV
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) -

As Hurricane Harvey makes its way toward land, nearly a dozen people from the St. Louis area are traveling to get ahead of the storm and help soften its punch on the people in its path.

"It looks like it is going to hit hard and big, so there is going to be a need for responders to come in from all over the country," said Jennifer McGrath.

McGrath is one of 11 volunteers from St. Louis heading south.

She has volunteered the last two years with the American Red Cross.

"I've responded to fires mostly because that is the number one disaster that hit people every day across the country," added McGrath.

She helped during the Missouri floods and Hurricane Harvey is her first deployment.

"It's really hard. But, you know as an American Red Cross volunteer, you are going to be able to help people right then and there. That is why we do what we do," added McGrath.

Cindy Erickson is Chief Executive Officer of the American Red Cross' St. Louis chapter.

"This is what we plan for 365 days a year. We have to have people trained who can open up a shelter in two hours and can manage the transportation challenges we have," said Erickson.

The volunteers will provide food, manage shelters, arrange transportation and be a help to 20,000 people.

"Some of them, we gave a four-hour notice and they were ready to go. So, that's what is incredible about our volunteers," added Erickson.

"It's immediate. It's very gratifying. Sometimes all you have to do is listen to somebody and give them a hug and that is enough to get them through to the next day or whatever," said McGrath.

The American Red Cross serving South Central Illinois has deployed two volunteers and plans to send more. The South Central Illinois chapter has also sent vehicles from its Springfield and Herrin offices.

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