Haydee Melendez Pays It Forward

Red Cross volunteer, Haydee Melendez poses on a cot at the Adams County Shelter in Mississippi.
Pamela Davis / American Red Cross

By Pamela Harris / American Red Cross Public Affairs volunteer

Meet volunteer Haydee Melendez. Haydee is from the Greater Orlando chapter and this is her very first deployment. She has been a volunteer since 2017 and she takes great pride in her position as a Shelter Associate. When asked what brought her to the Red Cross, she replied “A desire to give back”. As a three-year-old child, her family lost their home to a fire and it happened again four years later. She remembers only having the clothes on her back. What makes her story so touching is that the second fire happened at Christmas time. Haydee said she remembers how kind and loving the Red Cross was to her.

The Red Cross arranged for the children to receive Christmas toys. “I will never forget their help and now I want to do the same for others in need”. Haydee is looking forward to interacting with families and does plan to be around doing just that for years to come.

Red Cross volunteers are supporting emergency shelters by providing cots, blankets, personal
protective equipment and ready-to-eat meals across three states. Our work is just beginning.
The Red Cross is also helping to support more than 8,300 Hurricane Laura evacuees still sheltering in hotel rooms in Texas and Louisiana. Currently, there are more than 800 disaster workers supporting relief efforts in Louisiana for both Delta and Laura either on the ground or virtually. We have also pre-positioned more than 60,000 ready-to-eat meals, along with more shelter and relief supplies all along the Gulf Coast.

The American Red Cross is working to build our team capacity during this Hurricane season.  With COVID-19, many volunteers are not able to serve.  When community members step up to volunteer as a shelter associate they can support those affected by disaster, they not only help those in need but build community resilience. Can you join us? Visit us at redcross.org/volunteer to get started.