Bay Area residents are being asked to donate money, blood and time to assist those affected by superstorm Sandy while the state has mobilized first responders and utility workers from the region.
The San Francisco Red Cross chapter sent seven volunteers to the East Coast ahead of the storm on Saturday, and dozens are on standby, waiting for airports to open to allow them to fly out.
But even those not able to reach the East Coast can help, said Red Cross spokeswoman Cynthia Shaw.
"Basically, what we are looking for are financial donations and blood donations," she said. "We sheltered 11,000 people last night, and that was all through donations."
More than 300 blood drives were canceled along the Eastern Seaboard due to Sandy, Shaw said, leaving the blood supply low.
Shaw asks Bay Area residents to donate themselves or help organize a blood drive through work or community groups.
"We do this by the generosity of the American people," she said.
Some organizations, such as the League of United Latin American Citizens, were soliciting donations of cash and blood on behalf of the Red Cross, but scammers were also trying to cash in. "There are a number of legitimate groups that are raising funds for the Red Cross, and then, unfortunately, there are some that are not," Shaw said.
To avoid scams, make sure the link goes to the Red Cross website: www.redcross.org/charitable-donations or text Red Cross to 90999.
On Monday, Gov. Jerry Brown sent manpower and equipment to the East Coast, including a significant contingent from the 129th Rescue Wing of the California Air National Guard stationed at Moffett Field in Mountain View.
More than 100 guardsmen left for the East Coast on Monday with two Pavehawk rescue helicopters, two aerial refueling planes and two highly trained pararescue teams to Charlotte, N.C., according to the detachment. The teams have since been dispatched to Delaware, where they will await an assignment.
Members of that team are experienced at plucking victims from darkened waters in the wake of at least five hurricanes, including Katrina. It was a logistical challenge to pull together the team and material in less than 24 hours, but they did it.
PG&E plans to send more than 150 employees from Northern and Central California to help restore power in New York. The overhead and underground maintenance and construction crews, along with damage assessment personnel, can determine causes of outages and how to restore power and will focus on Con Edison service areas in New York City and Westchester County.
"As you can imagine, this is a lot to work out logistically," said PG&E spokesman Joe Molica.
Crews were to leave Tuesday night from Mather Air Force Base in Sacramento, carrying special permits that allow them speedy passage across the country. On Monday night and Tuesday, truck crews were preparing to load some 60 utility trucks onto large, flatbed tractor-trailers, which will drive day and night until they reach New York.
"When we have our boots on the ground there, they'll be able to get in the trucks that they use every day and help rebuild," Molica said.
The state is also sending urban search and rescue teams from the Sacramento and Southern California areas.
Staff writer Bruce Newman contributed to this report. Contact Matthias Gafni at 925-952-5026. Follow him at Twitter.com/mgafni.