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Flood Relief Workers: 'Hopefully Our Presence Really Helps People'

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Disasters like this week's flooding bring out armies of volunteers to help those in need in the affected areas, doing what they can to bring a measure of comfort to the victims in a time of crisis.

WBBM Newsradio's Mike Krauser reports, when disaster strikes, the Salvation Army and Red Cross mobilize volunteers to establish mobile canteens and temporary shelters, and send out supplies like cots and blankets, as well as experienced relief workers to provide emotional support.

"We want to make sure that people understand that they're not standing alone in their crises," Salvation Army Maj. David Dalberg said. "Hopefully, our presence really helps people."

Volunteers Mobilize For Flood Relief

Dalberg, director of emergency disaster services in Chicago, said you won't find people more appreciative than those getting some comfort in the midst of a crisis.

"It's almost at times uncomfortable for us how appreciative they are," he said.

It's the little things – a hot meal, a cup of coffee, a toothbrush, or a shoulder to lean on – that mean the most to disaster victims.

"It's not the big things that make a difference in people's lives, especially when they're hurting or in crisis. Oftentimes, it's just the little things like a cup of coffee, or a hot meal, or a sandwich, whatever may be," Dalberg said.

American Red Cross spokeswoman Martha Carlos said it's mostly volunteers out helping flood victims.

"You know, many of them are leaving their own flooded basements, and getting out there, and working overnight at shelters, and answering phone calls from people who are looking for resources to help clean up their flooded home; that type of thing," Carlos said.

Volunteers with both the Salvation Army and Red Cross have been out all over the Chicago area to help provide shelter, food, cots and comfort for the victims.

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