CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – A steady flow of Iowa disaster volunteers continue to make the trip from the Hawkeye State to the East Coast in the name of helping Hurricane Sandy victims.
Red Cross officials said as of Monday morning, 46 trained volunteers from Iowa have been deployed, and more are leaving each day. Linda Sutherland of Marion is shipping out at around 2:00 p.m. on Monday. This marks the third hurricane she has responded to. Sutherland said she has been busy talking with people already working in the storm impacted area.
"I know that we'll be staying in a shelter and dealing with clients directly in the shelter, I think gas is difficult, in some cases, no electricity," Sutherland said. "We've been warned that we could be in a building that is not well heated and fairly crowded and sleeping in shelters also."
A Day of Giving is breaking out across the U.S. as the American Red Cross continues to step up its Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. ABC television is teaming up with the Red Cross to name Monday, a day of giving for Hurricane victims.
"We're in ten states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, all the areas affected by Hurricane Sandy," said Long-Time American Red Cross Volunteer Peter Teahen.
According to data from the Red Cross, volunteers have already served more than 481,000 meals and snacks, provided more than 12,000 health services and emotional support contacts and handed out more than 33,000 relief items.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said New Yorkers are suffering. Up to 40,000 thousand still need shelter, especially with another bout of cold weather headed towards the Northeast.
Red Cross volunteers say the money helps with every aspect of the recovery. The victims are thankful to see that help from fellow Americans.
"If you like hugs, that's what you get. It's terrific. They are very glad to see you," said Volunteer Al Remling.
Iowans can donate a number of ways, including texting REDCROSS to 90999 for a $10 donation to the Red Cross, visiting www.redcross.org/donate or calling 1-800-HELP-NOW.