Red Cross shelters are now open at Norristown, Pottstown and Cheltenham area high schools and while those in need of shelter are only trickling in at the moment, volunteers are in great demand.
Norristown Area School Board President Denise Ashe sent the following plea early this morning:
"The red cross is short on volunteers at the high school. The head of the baptist ministry works with them to get people from the community to help.
Pastor White just called and said Red Cross needs people from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and again at shift two from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. starting tomorrow morning. (Of course I took the pm shift).
I thought this may be a way to show people how Norristown can come together when needed.
Please forward this request for help to responsible family, friends, and peers asap. Just have them email me their name and times they can help."
Contact Ashe at firstname.lastname@example.org if you can help.
Folks already on the scene at the Norristown shelter in the school's gymnasium report that only a handful of people had checked in to stay by 11 a.m. this morning, but they have enough cots and supplies to serve hundreds if needed.
The shelters are pet friendly, so residents are encouraged to bring their animals with them in the event of an evacuation. Pets are being housed in a separate part of the building from the main shelter (for those of you concerned with allergies) but owners will have access to the animals and be expected to be on hand to care for and feed their pets.
[Shelter guests] can have contact with their animals," said Julie Chang, part of the Montgomery County Animal Response Team (MCART) handling the animal section of the shelter. "Actually they are responsible for taking care of the animals."
According to Chang, keeping their usual daily routine and seeing familiar faces will help keep the animals calm during the stressful time. MCART also suggests owners bring their animals food and any bedding so as to disrupt their schedule and comfort as little as possible.
For more information on MCART or to volunteer or make a donation, contact Karen Douglas at 484-686-7026.