Volunteers from Oregon heading to help Hurricane Ian survivors

Published: Sep. 30, 2022 at 10:43 PM PDT
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PORTLAND, Ore (KPTV) - What was Hurricane Ian is working its way through South Carolina.

Behind it is a wake of destruction.

With that devastation also comes hope from those providing help to those in need. Some of that help is coming out of Oregon.

Chris and Amber Schwartzkopf’s journey to Florida began with a phone call from the American Red Cross.

“You can go or you can stay home,” Chris said.

“The minute they called and asked if we can do this, we’re like ‘absolutely, we can go tonight,’” Amber added. They left a couple of nights later.

Amber is focused on helping people who need the most basic necessities, like a place to sleep, get food, and “make sure their family is okay. So, I’m hoping we’re able to help somebody when we get there.”

The Schwartzkopf’s are no stranger to volunteering. Amber and Chris used to volunteer on their own separately, but eventually, they combined their efforts with the American Red Cross as a couple.

“This is the thing we decided we’d do together,” Amber said.

They’ve done work with the Red Cross in the past, but never on the shore so soon after a disaster like Ian.

“I’ve never been this close to the hurricane,” Chris said. “We might have nights where we don’t have any lights.”  That may be frightening, but they say they’re ready to face it together.

“You may see stuff that you might not like,” Chris said. “You really need to take care of yourself fully and make sure that you can be focused,” Amber added.

If the environment starts to become overwhelming and gets stressful, Amber said you “pretend like you aren’t.”

The Schwartzkopf’s say remember that these people are going through something unimaginable. “Try not to control the situation,” Chris said, “but try to alleviate the best you can.”