Many of us want to know how we can help with the relief efforts on the east coast after Superstorm Sandy.
Two organizations here in Michiana are aiming to help those in need.
The Elkhart County chapter of the American Red Cross and the one in St. Joseph County are hitting the phones. Both agencies are calling volunteers to see if they can help with hurricane relief.
So far, between both chapters, a total of 20 volunteers have been deployed to the east coast.
“Right now, one of the greatest needs we have is mass care on the east coast for these big shelters where people have been displaced from their homes,” said Rebekah DeLine of the Red Cross in Elkhart. “They need to go and stay in a shelter.”
Both chapters will be providing boot camps the next couple of days to train volunteers to help out east.
“The boot camp of our disaster services over our shelter operations and or shelter simulations, which are essentially the basic classes that somebody would need to deploy,” said DeLine.
Feed The Children in Elkhart is currently stockpiling personal care items and food that could be sent to the east coast. Like the Red Cross, they are in need of donations to buy supplies, items that could go to a distribution center in New Jersey hit by the storm.
“We have inventory there, we have preparedness inventory we can make available; it’s just a matter when it is safe to start operating again,” said John Tracy of Feed The Children.
Given the nature and extensive damage from this disaster, it’s expected the need for items like this will go on for quite some time, and donations over a period of time will be greatly appreciated.
“I could see this being with us for months and months at this point,” said Tracy.
The American Red Cross is always looking for volunteers. If you would like to go to one of the "boot camps," one is Thursday from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. with a second one scheduled for Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Both will take place at the St. Joseph County American Red Cross chapter on East Jefferson in South Bend.
Elkhart County is also planning a boot camp for Saturday.
You can call the Red Cross at 574-293-6519 for more information on that session.