Local Red Cross volunteer’s first assignment headed to Florida for hurricane relief

Written by on September 29, 2022

Local Red Cross volunteer’s first assignment headed to Florida for hurricane relief

By Brittany Sweeney
September 29, 2022

A local Red Cross volunteer will head to Florida to aid with hurricane relief

ALLENTOWN, Pa. – The sun is shining once again in the areas of Florida hardest hit by Hurricane Ian. Now relief efforts are underway.

A Lehigh Valley woman is heading down to help those in need following the category 4 hurricane. 

Volunteer Tasha Behnke of Danielsville is waiting to head out on her first out of state deployment with the Red Cross.

Behnke said she will head to Florida between Friday and Sunday to offer disaster mental health services to those affected.

“For me, I think that means just sort of going where I’m needed, helping people to process the immediate aftermath and helping them to get any resources that we can possibly provide,” Behnke said. 

“We’re really just, I think, holding some space for people and letting them sort of tell me how they’re feeling and what’s going on.”

Anxiety for volunteers, victims

Behnke said a lot of anxiety comes with this type of situation – for both the victims and the volunteers aiding relief efforts.

“I think one of the emotions that I’m having and I’m trying to focus on is one of just gratitude to be able to be in the position to go and help, especially in light of everything that’s gone on in Florida right now,” she said.

The Pennsylvania Rivers Chapter covers the greater Lehigh Valley.

Behnke said the Red Cross begins training its volunteers as soon as they sign up, to prepare them for such situations.

“They start by just training you in general on how to handle these situations,” she said. “We certainly have a lot of support staff. So as the situation unfolded and I was given the information, I have people here to support me through each step of the way.

“In all kinds of ways – not just like from what to pack, what to expect and just in terms of even my emotional needs.”

Behnke will be in Florida with the Red Cross for 10 to 14 days. The Red Cross has 22 volunteers from the Red Cross Greater PA region deployed or waiting to be deployed to Florida.


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