Santa Maria Sun / News
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 13, Issue 34
Local residents join the Hurricane Sandy relief effort
BY AMY ASMAN
Two Central Coast residents are braving the high winds and pelting rains of Hurricane Sandy to help people in need.
American Red Cross volunteers Kristiana Almeida of Santa Barbara and Eleanor Guzik of Ventura were recently deployed to the East Coast to serve at shelters in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, respectively.
Almeida is in Tinton Falls, N.J., and is helping with community relations. Her job is to inform the community of available Red Cross services, and to work with media outlets to share how the Red Cross is providing relief to those impacted by the hurricane.
Guzik is a registered nurse practitioner and an active member of the Red Cross since 2005. In Pennsylvania, she’s working as a disaster health services manager and is overseeing a team of volunteer doctors, nurses, and emergency medical technicians.
Giselle Gomez, a spokesperson for the Red Cross’ Central Coast region, said whenever a huge disaster occurs, the organization’s national headquarters starts pre-positioning highly trained volunteers in the most vulnerable areas. Officials reference a database of volunteers and match them to tasks based on their experience levels.
Gomez said the regional office plans to send more helpers soon.
“We currently have volunteers throughout the Central Coast on standby,” she said. “We haven’t sent anyone else yet because all of the airports on the East Coast have been shut down [due to the weather]. We’ll send more as needed once the airports have been reopened.”
As of Oct. 28, more than 3,200 people were seeking shelter at 112 Red Cross facilities in nine states, including New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, and Massachusetts. The number of people going to shelters is expected to increase as the storm continues.
Guzik and Almeida join more than 1,300 Red Cross disaster workers who have been deployed to the region to help with the relief effort. Up to 160 emergency vehicles are ready to respond when it’s safe to do so, and more than 230,000 ready-to-eat meals have been sent into the area.
“Sandy is a large and dangerous storm, and will affect large areas of the eastern part of the country for the next few days,” Jim McGee, CEO of the Red Cross Central Coast Region, said in a press release. “We are so proud to send our local volunteers to assist our friends and family on the East Coast.”
Locals are encouraged to make financial donations to help the Red Cross provide shelter, food, emotional support, and additional assistance to people affected by disasters like Hurricane Sandy.
To donate, people can visit redcross.org, call 1-800-RED-CROSS, or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
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