During the first two weeks of December, dozens of American Red Cross volunteers responded to more than 50 house fires in central Iowa alone. Those volunteers provided food, clothing and shelter to more than a hundred fire victims. Liz Dorland, a Red Cross spokeswoman, says the spike in the need for services was expected.

Dorland says, “Typically during the holiday season, we see an increase in the number of fire calls due to holiday decorations or kitchen fires and we’ve had the bitter cold temperatures.” She says the agency is always in need of good people to help out during times of trouble.

“The Red Cross provides free training for people who want to help others during a disaster like a home fire or even a larger-scale disaster,” Dorland says. Besides needing more volunteers, the charity could also use monetary donations to help fund the assistance they provide to disaster victims.