Hurricane Dorian is gaining strength and more volunteers are headed south to help communities bracing for the storm.
The Greater Richmond Red Cross response has already tripled since Thursday: now at least 20 volunteers from Virginia are headed to Florida to help however they can.
Back home in the Richmond area, some are giving in other ways, like donating blood.
“For something that has so much potential benefit for such little price to pay, it’s worth it,” said Rick Meili from Glen Allen.
Meili was one of several donating blood Friday at the Red Cross building in Henrico. He told 8News he gives regularly, but noticed the storm had gotten more severe by the morning of his appointment.
“Just that reinforcement of the message that every drop counts or could go towards saving a life,” said Meili.
The Red Cross says it relies on blood donors for more than just local needs.
“The blood that is coming in today in a facility like this not only supports hospitals here in the Virginia community, but will also support efforts around the country in areas that could be potentially impacted by the storm,” said Jonathan McNamara, a spokesperson for the American Red Cross in Richmond.
McNamara says local resources are in contact with Red Cross chapters around the country to best help the efforts already underway in the potential storm zone.
“We have a very strong base in Florida that will serve as the foundation for this response,” he explained.
But whether it’s a volunteer with boots on the ground in Florida or a blood donor supporting from back home, McNamara says the Red Cross takes no days off from helping those in need.
“Disasters don’t send you an outlook calendar reminder,” said McNamara.
“So a holiday, we don’t get to take off. But it just shows how dedicated our volunteers are. Whether it’s Labor Day weekend or Thanksgiving, we have Red Crossers who consistently answer the call to serve,” he continued.
Appointments for blood donations can be made by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting the Red Cross website, or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).