“I have a suitcase packed:” Volunteers ready to help those affected by tornadoes

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Forecasters on Monday warned millions to prepare for another round of severe storms -- including widespread tornadoes. This, one day after storms killed 16 people in three states. In Wisconsin, volunteers are already mobilized. They're just waiting for the call to head down south and help out.

American Red Cross officials in Milwaukee say they don't know if they'll be asked to send a crew or supplies to the states affected by Sunday's storms.

However, they say they're ready to go -- along with other groups in southeastern Wisconsin.

Red Cross officials and others say this is the time of the year when you just have to be prepared to deal with the devastation left behind by severe storms.

Last spring, volunteers from Elmbrook Church in Brookfield packed their cars for Moore, Oklahoma after a deadly tornado.

On Monday, Maryann Lee said she is reaching out to about 150 volunteers at the church. She wants to know who is willing to respond this time.

"We just get ready. I have a suitcase that`s packed," Lee said.

On Sunday night, tornadoes tore through the towns of Vilonia and Mayflower in Arkansas.

Each town is about seven miles from Conway -- a town Racine native Gregory Pierangeli now calls home.

"I had many, probably 30-40 between tweets and Facebook messages and phone calls and actually, my girlfriend still lives in Racine so she and I were texting back and forth," Pierangeli said.

Pierangeli says his neighborhood is fine, but he doesn't have to go far to see total destruction.

"When they`re showing the places that were hit and destroyed, I know those places. I go past them all the time and they`re, as of (Sunday), they`re not there now," Pierangeli said.

Volunteers at the Red Cross office in Milwaukee say they're already packed up -- it's just a matter of whether they're needed.

"We have people from here who would like to go, but if there are people who are closer, it`s much more cost-effective to drive someone 100 miles, 200 miles, than it is to fly someone 1,000 miles," Barbara Behling with the Red Cross of Southeastern Wisconsin said.

Lee says the uncertainty doesn't bother her. She says if she can find a way to help, she will.

Her advice for anyone who wants to volunteer is to remember that no task is too small.

"You have to think 'okay, I can`t fix all this but I can pick this one thing up and I can help this one person for this one day,'" Lee said.

The Red Cross says with the arrival of severe weather season, it's a good time to download their "Tornado App."

You can customize your location, and get alerts for storm watches and warnings.

In case of a disaster, the app also has a strobe light function, and a section on first aid.

If you have a smartphone, it's a free download.

The American Red Cross says donations are welcome to help those affected by Sunday's storms.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the American Red Cross "Tornado App."

You can give $10 by texting the word "RedCross" to 90999.

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