SANTA CRUZ -- Two local volunteers left Monday morning from Santa Cruz in an American Red Cross emergency response vehicle headed for New York to provide assistance for those affected by Superstorm Sandy.
Janet Packer of Aptos and Robert Farnham of Hollister planned to leave around 11 a.m. from the American Red Cross Santa Cruz office on Soquel Avenue. The pair joins 22 Santa Cruz County volunteers who already have headed east to help out with post-storm recovery. Gwen Chiaramonte of Felton and Kate McCarthy-Lewis and Camilla Boolootian of Santa Cruz were among those deployed Friday to help with relief in New Jersey.
Red Cross officials say 105 volunteers have been sent from the Red Cross region covering the Monterey and San Francisco Bay areas.
At its peak, Sandy reached 1,000 miles across, killed more than 100 people in 10 states, knocked out power to 8.5 million homes and businesses, and canceled nearly 20,000 flights, the Associated Press reported Monday. New York and New Jersey bore the brunt of the storm's destruction, with damage from the storm has been estimated at $50 billion, making Sandy the second most expensive storm in U.S. history behind Hurricane Katrina.
Saturday night, more than 10,600 people stayed in 123 shelters in nine states, said Cynthia Shaw, a spokeswoman with Red Cross. The entire Red Cross fleet of 320 response vehicles has been sent to distribute food, water and other supplies to those affected by the
Bay Federal Credit Union also has established a donation fund specifically for victims of the storm in connection with the Red Cross.
"Red Cross volunteers were prepared and ready to help," said Bay Federal President and CEO Carrie Birkhofer. "We want to help make sure that they have the funds necessary to care for people who seek their assistance."
Those in Santa Cruz County who wish to help out are also being urged by Red Cross officials to consider donating blood. Close to 400 Red Cross blood drives in 13 states were canceled due to the storm, and the organization is asking those in areas unaffected by the storm to consider donating blood as soon as possible.
The American Red Cross last week opened a new base near the Watsonville Municipal Airport to serve as the staging ground for mobile blood drives throughout Santa Cruz and Monterey counties. Eight employees, hired and trained for the new base, will staff a mobile unit. The nonprofit collected 45 units of blood Wednesday at UC Santa Cruz, marking its first drive from the new base. For more information about donating blood, contact the local Red Cross chapter at 462-2881.
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donate to support Red Cross Disaster Relief
Visit www.redcross.org, call 800-RED-CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
Contributions also can be sent to the American Red Cross Santa Cruz County chapter at 2960 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz, CA 95062, or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.
To donate to the Red Cross through Bay Federal Credit Union, visit www.bayfed.org or drop off donations at any Bay Federal Credit Union branch or mail them to Bay Federal Credit Union, Attention: Superstorm Sandy Relief Fund, 3333 Clares St., Capitola, CA 95010. Checks should be made payable to BFCU for American Red Cross.
For information, visit www.sccredcross.org or call 462-2881.