Jason Toy is an example of a young man who wants to give back to his community. At 32, Toy is spending time as an Red Cross shelter assistant helping families who evacuated from their homes during Hurricane Matthew.
“It has been pretty neat,” Jason said of his experience. “It is nice learning things and nice making people feel better. They are always a little nervous during a storm.”
Toy, who has an undergraduate degree in public policy from Rutgers University in New Jersey and is working on his graduate degree in public health, went through a Red Cross boot camp to train as a disaster responder. Just prior to the Hurricane Matthew response, he took a refresher course on shelter management.
Having lived in New Jersey for years before moving to the Myrtle Beach area, Jason has had several experiences with hurricanes. He knows how hectic life can get during a storm. He finds helping the Red Cross to help others “a fulfilling experience.”
As a Red Cross volunteer, he has also trained in other areas such as public affairs. During his first experience in an emergency shelter, Jason said his job was to “put on a bright face” and welcome evacuees, make sure they had eaten and just help them get settled.
He said he really enjoys making people feel good during what can be for most a very stressful time. He thinks volunteering for the Red Cross is a great way for people to help their own community during times of crisis.
“When it is your city, you have to do what you can to help your own people,” Jason said. “I just find that fulfilling.”
Photo and story by Angela Nicholas/American Red Cross