Ten local American Red Cross Silicon Valley Chapter volunteers -- including one from Palo Alto -- are heading to storm-devastated areas on the East Coast to help with disaster relief after Superstorm Sandy, the chapter announced Wednesday, Oct. 31.
Karl Matzke of Palo Alto, Rada Ford of Mountain View, Anthony Meza of Union City, Jane Iverson, Kelly Davis, Stephanie Wilde and Margaret McDonald of San Jose, Darlene Franklin and Susanne Newswanger of Sunnyvale, and John Mearns are being sent to New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia to aid in feeding, client casework and IT support.
More than 9,000 people spent Tuesday night in more than 171 Red Cross shelters across 13 states after the storm, where more than 100,800 meals and snacks were served.
Greater than 2,300 disaster workers and 200 emergency vehicles have been mobilized for the relief effort, according to the Red Cross. The numbers of needy are increasing as the storm continues over Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit and Milwaukee with heavy winds, rain and snow, agency officials said.
"This response to Sandy is just getting started. The storm has left devastation in its wake, and we will be helping people for weeks to come," said Charley Shimanski, senior vice president of Red Cross disaster services. "This will be very costly, and the Red Cross needs help now. We ask everyone to support us as we help people recover from this massive storm."
Approximately 300 Red Cross blood drives have been canceled due to the storm, and more cancellations are expected, officials said. The Red Cross is urging immediate blood and platelet donations in areas unaffected by the storm.
Persons who are 17 years of age (16 with parental permission in some states), meet height and weight requirements of 110 pounds or more, depending on their height, and who are generally in good health may be eligible to donate blood. To schedule an appointment, volunteers should visit www.redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS.
Financial donations are also needed. Anyone wanting to help can make a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief by visiting www.redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED-CROSS. People can also text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to local American Red Cross chapters or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, D.C. 20013.
Persons who are looking for loved ones after the storm can check The Red Cross Safe and Well website. The site allows people to let loved ones know where they are in a disaster.
There are several ways to register on Safe and Well or to search for a loved one: users can visit redcross.org; from a smart phone, visit www.redcross.org/safeandwell or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to be connected with one's local Red Cross chapter.