The Red Cross responds whenever disaster strikes. This time volunteers made their way to New York City and other areas hit hard by Hurricane Sandy. Just days after the stormed passed, they're already exhausting their resources. Our Iris St. Meran spoke with the local chapter of the Red Cross about what more is needed and how you can help.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- The Central New York Chapter of the American Red Cross began preparing for the worst of Hurricane Sandy before the storm even made landfall.
After it passed, they deployed volunteers knowing they had their work cut out for them.
American Red Cross Regional Chief Executive Officer Rosie Taravella said, "There are now 5.6 million people at last count without power. The Red Cross has set up over 100 shelters in New York City alone."
The work doesn't stop there. Crews have been deployed from this area to help with the relief efforts downstate and beyond. The organization relies mostly on donations of all kinds including blood.
“Because of the Hurricane all along the coast, blood in Boston and New York, the idea of being able to not only give blood, but transport it to hospitals that need it,” Taravella added. “It's just broken down the system right because so many roads are impassable and so many blood drives had to be canceled."
You are encouraged to be a regular donor, donate platelets and white blood cells.
Taravella says blood donations have a shelf life of about five days, so they're looking for regular donors as well. If you want to give in other ways, monetary donations also help and are easier to distribute in a situation like this.
"Because we don't know what we need until we get there. So as our volunteers go into our headquarters, they get dispatched to different areas and depending on the need, they provide the supplies that we brought along," explained Taravella.
They're hoping to bring even more along as they help those in need whether it's clothing, food, medical care or a listening ear.
To learn more about how you can help the Red Cross provide relief following Sandy, visit www.syrarc.org.