Local volunteer on helping after Harvey: “I feel like I’m actually making a difference”

The Greater Chesapeake Region has had more than 115 volunteers on the ground in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Photos provided to 10 On Your Side to show some of the work of these volunteers. Credit: Anthony "Butch" Gordon.

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — As flood waters begin to go down in Texas, the death toll is expected to go up.

It has been more than a week since Hurricane Harvey first made landfall. At least 43 are confirmed dead, and many of those spared are learning to live with little or nothing left.

Thousands of people evacuated from their flooded homes spent Labor Day in shelters. It will be a long road to recovery, and could take months or even years.

The damage from Hurricane Harvey is extensive.

Thousands of Red Cross volunteers are doing all they can to help.

“Everything that they’ve had in their lives, it’s just basically been washed away,” Red Cross Volunteer Connie Picard said.

Norfolk resident Connie Picard is part of the Disaster Action Team currently in Austin.

She’s been there more than a week but had some time to talk to 10 On Your Side Monday. “We’ve been doing a lot of preparation and work getting the shelters together,” she said.

Gallery: Local Red Cross volunteers help Harvey victims

Some of their work and what they’ve seen was captured in photos shared with us by Anthony “Butch” Gordon, another Hampton Roads Red Cross volunteer.

The Greater Chesapeake Region has had more than 115 volunteers on the ground in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Photos provided to 10 On Your Side to show some of the work of these volunteers. Credit: Anthony “Butch” Gordon.

As of Sunday, the Greater Chesapeake Region alone had more than 115 volunteers on the ground. Picard said they are completely focused on those in need.

“It’s really just about keeping that smile going and keeping positive words, of encouragement to everyone that’s here,” Picard said.

The Red Cross said Sunday more than 32,000 people had sought refuge in Red Cross and partner shelters across Texas. More than half a million meals and snacks have been served by the Red Cross since Harvey made landfall.

The Red Cross said it has trailers with kitchen supplies on the ground in Texas to support 14 kitchen. Collectively, these kitchens are able to produce 10,000 meals a day.

More than 27,000 relief items — such as diapers and comfort kits — have been distributed, according to the Red Cross.

How you can help Harvey survivors

The images give a clearer picture of what Harvey left behind. Some homeowners are trying to salvage all they can.

“People just absolutely almost in a state of shock because they’ve lost everything,” Picard said.

The stories are heartbreaking. “I’ve heard people tell me, ‘you know I don’t know where I’m going to go to live. I have no home left,” Picard explained.

Across the region more than 75 schools are damaged and will be closed for months.

Picard said being able to respond has been rewarding. This is her way of giving back to an organization that once helped her.

“I feel like I’m actually making a difference,” she said.

The cleanup and rebuilding from this storm could cost up to $190 billion. That’s more than Katrina and Sandy combined.

You can help. WAVY-TV and our parent company Nexstar Media Group are partnering with the red cross. Text HARVEY to 9-0-9-9-9 to send a $10 donation to the Red Cross.