St. Louis region Red Cross volunteers headed to gulf coast for hurricane assistance

ST. LOUIS - As hurricane Harvey barrels towards the Texas and Louisiana coasts, a storm of immediate assistance is also headed to the gulf, including volunteers from the St. Louis region.

"I think if this get as big as we think it's going to get, we probably will be having 50-100 volunteers deploying from the St. Louis community" said Cindy Erickson, CEO of the American Red Cross of Eastern Missouri.

The local chapter of the Red Cross has already mobilized their first wave of 11 volunteers who are headed to assist in Texas and Louisiana as Harvey inches closer to land.

Jimmy Proffitt will head down Saturday morning.  Driving and then manning one of the Red Cross food vehicles.

"We can serve the meals out to them whether they want one or want five of them" he said.

Proffitt has volunteered with the Red Cross for the last 12 years and while it's difficult to count how many times he's been deployed to a major disaster, what he never forgets is the impact.

"We won't go where we're not wanted, but we will try our best to get to somebody at the end of a street who hasn't had anyone to come by to check on them" he said.

Jennifer McGrath is being deployed out of state for the first time since joining the Red Cross two years ago.  She'll help educate people on the potential tools and resources they can use during disaster recovery.

"It's so satisfying and it's something that you can do quickly and because people are at the worst moment in their lives during these disasters so it's great to be there and give them a hug, a hot meal, a cot to sleep in, whatever they need at that time" she said.

​The volunteers will spend an average of two weeks in the region. Officials anticipate deploying more volunteers over the weekend.