American Red Cross volunteer Pete Bishop of Seminole Heights walked into not knowing what to expect but ready to help.
“I’ll just fill in wherever they need me,” he said.
Bishop was one of several Red Cross volunteers gathering Monday evening at a shelter for Tropical Storm Debby flooding victims set up in the Greco cafeteria.
The shelter opened at 4:30 p.m. Monday. By about 6:30 p.m., a few people had arrived. Volunteers said they weren’t sure how many people to expect—they had more than 200 calls at their downtown Tampa office today and recognized a need in the University area. They also set up shelters in Hudson and Seminole. All three shelters will be open Tuesday night as well.
“If it’s one family, 10 families, or 100 families, we don’t care,” said one volunteer who did not want to be named. “We’ll take them all.”
She said the Red Cross had also put displaced victims in a hotel for the night. There were 23 tenants from an apartment complex in the north Tampa area who were eligible to stay in the hotel, but the volunteer didn’t know the name of the complex.
Volunteers said they expect to serve more people Tuesday night as the hotel stay is only available Monday night.
Bishop said he’s volunteered before with the Red Cross, usually with disaster action teams. He said the Red Cross had called him to see if he was available Monday night.
Once he filled out some volunteer paperwork, he was all set.