CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -- Red Cross volunteers and staff members across east Tennessee are currently helping with the widespread storm relief effort in all areas that experienced damage.

Chattanooga and Cleveland, two of the hardest hit areas in Tennessee, as well as Claiborne, McMinn and Monroe counties are receiving Red Cross support.

Workers are assisting storm clients, conducting damage assessments that will identify areas of need, providing logistics expertise to ensure food, supplies and other assistance are available and helping with feeding operations.

57 area volunteers and staffers are currently in the field; many who just finished providing assistance to families impacted by the tornado that left a path of destruction and loss in Cumberland County. East Tennessee Red Cross responders are using 5 emergency response vehicles as well as 13 trucks, vans and cars to conduct relief operations.

"I am truly proud of our ‘volunteer state' during times like this," said Boyd Romines, CEO East Tennessee American Red Cross. "It is humbling when you see how hard our volunteers work to help others. Their commitment and dedication is a testament to the mission of the Red Cross."

The American Red Cross has launched a large relief operation across 11 states to help people affected by yesterday's devastating tornado outbreak in the South and Midwest. Weather experts reported as many as 95 confirmed tornadoes touched down, destroying communities from the Great Lakes to the Southeast.

Friday night, the Red Cross opened or supported 22 shelters in Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Alabama, Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. In East Tennessee, the Red Cross had 3 shelters operational last night in Harrison, TN, Tellico Plains, TN and Cleveland, TN. Volunteers have fanned out across the affected communities providing bulk distribution of cleaning and personal care items, water and food.

In addition, health services and mental health workers also will be out to help people cope with what they've seen and experienced. And damage assessment teams will also help the Red Cross and our partners uncover the full scope of the damage.

"Our hearts go out to everyone who has been affected by these severe storms this week," said  Charley Shimanski, senior vice president, Disaster Services. "Our top priorities right now are making sure people have a safe place to stay, a warm meal and a shoulder to lean on as they begin to clean‐up their neighborhoods. The Red Cross is also working closely with our government and community partners to make sure everyone gets the help they need."

How to Help:

The Red Cross is able to provide immediate assistance anywhere disaster strikes because of donations of financial support of the Disaster Relief Fund. Your donations will be used to help our relief efforts in east Tennessee; in the rare occasion when fundraising exceeds the cost of the response any remaining funds will be used for future disaster response when and where it is needed.

To donate, call 1‐800‐RED‐CROSS or click www.redcross.org