MINNEAPOLIS - While Hurricane Matthew is long gone, the impacts of the powerful storm are still being felt in the southeastern U.S..

The Red Cross is desperate for volunteers to help with shelter, food and other forms of relief in affected areas of Florida and the Carolinas.

“Rivers are still rising leaving entire communities underwater and uprooting thousands of lives,” said Phil Hansen, CEO, American Red Cross Minnesota Region. “Volunteers are needed to help provide shelter, food and relief supplies. We’re also recruiting health services professionals such as nurses, paramedics and EMTs.”

To prepare those who are interested in helping, the Red Cross has scheduled two “Fast Track” training sessions, one on Friday, October 21 and another on Saturday, October 29. Coursework will include an overview of disaster services, position-specific training, psychological first aid and deployment basics.

The training runs from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and will take place at the American Red Cross Minnesota Region’s Minneapolis office at 1201 West River Parkway in Minneapolis. Free parking is available in the lot next to the building and lunch will be provided. Those wishing to volunteer must be at least 18 years-old, have a valid driver’s license and be available to deploy for two weeks within the next month.

There are 50 training slots available at each session.

“These are great hands-on opportunities. It’s what the Red Cross does – it’s the humanitarian experience of connecting with people in need, listening to them and helping them however we can,” says Vonnie Thomas, a Red Cross volunteer, nurse and training instructor. “Sometimes that’s just a hug, but it means they’re not alone and we’re going to be there as long as we’re needed.”

To register, send your name and phone number to Red Cross Volunteer Services at arctc.vsvolunteer@redcross.org.

More than 3,000 Red Cross disaster workers have already been mobilized, including 33 from Minnesota.