Under an intense red sky, the city of Lima finishes its day and night draws in. As the city lights up, the temperature goes down and Viviana continues to classify the mountains of clothing that have been donated by citizens. She does it with her friends, it is a meticulous task that requires to classify every piece of clothing according to size, type, and how it will be used. The sorting has to be done carefully to ensure the clothes that will reach the communities will be useful and in good condition.
Zuellen, a volunteer with the Peruvian Red Cross says she is part of a dedicated team. “It’s a hard work, but it fills me with great satisfaction knowing that it’s worth doing,” she said. “If I could continue working at night I would do it.” Zuellen has been a volunteer for four years. She said she had worked alongside the other – mostly young – volunteers for most of the day and, in a week, they have delivered clothes and other goods to over 300 families in Punta Hermosa, Pampa Pacta, Carapungo, Chosica and Puente Piedra.
There are 1,200 additional clothing kits available that will be delivered in the following weeks to other areas that require this type of assistance.
By the time it’s completely dark, a group of volunteers is classifying donated medicine inside the Lima Branch. The classification process is similar than the task of selecting clothes, but is complicated by the nature of the product. Katia Muñoz, a volunteer on this team said packages must be carefully checked to make sure they not used, expired and that the labels are accurate. “We have to be very careful here, unfortunately some people donate medicines that do not work and we have to be very careful with this,” she said.
Further back in the branch office, there are food kits ready to be distributed to the families affected by the floods.
Despite the late hour, there are still people working in the branch, they will continue for a couple of hours more; some will work until dawn. Valeria, another volunteer, was finishing up the night shift, but said she was driven by the needs of others. “For the people affected by floods, there are no easy hours, we have to continue,” she said.