UPDATE: Aug. 31, 10:45 a.m.

Over the last week, 5,000 people in Austin have signed up to volunteer with the American Red Cross of Central & South Texas in an effort to help those affected by Hurricane Harvey. In the weeks ahead, as relief and recovery efforts continue, volunteers will be in high demand, according to American Red Cross officials.

Sydney Morton, a volunteer with the American Red Cross, said the organization has experienced overwhelming support from the community and is thankful for the help it has received across the Central Texas region. While volunteering makes a significant impact in assisting victims, she said there are other ways to contribute.

"The best way to have the most immediate impact is by providing financial donations to [our program]," Morton said.

People can also visit the website of the Austin Disaster Relief Network, an American Red Cross partner, to find out how to donate survivor kits filled with clothes, shoes, blankets and other supplies, to give a monetary donation, or to sign up as a volunteer.

According to the American Red Cross, there are currently 243 shelters open across the state of Texas housing over 30,000 evacuees. Volunteers are needed everywhere.

"We have a long-term need for volunteers," Morton said. "In the coming weeks, we are going to count on their support."

To donate to the American Red Cross call 1-800-Red-Cross, visit www.redcross.org or text Harvey to 90999.

POSTED: 4:43 p.m. Aug. 25

The American Red Cross of Central & South Texas is hosting training sessions Saturday for volunteers who can help evacuees from Hurricane Harvey.

Training sessions will be held at the Austin ID Performing Arts Center near the Mueller development at 1500 Barbara Jordan Blvd., Austin. Volunteers only need to attend one of four sessions:

  • 10-11 a.m.

  • Noon-1 p.m.

  • 2-3 p.m.

  • 4-5 p.m.

Interested volunteers are encouraged to visit www.redcross.org/volunteer to fill out an application before attending a training session. Volunteers can also search for volunteer opportunities by ZIP code or interest online.

According to the American Red Cross, it helps provide shelter, food and emotional support for victims of disasters. The Austin area has two shelters open for evacuees.

For more information, call 800-928-4271.