RALEIGH — North Carolinians, no strangers to devastating hurricanes, are pitching in to help Sandy-afflicted areas of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and West Virginia.
Along with line workers putting in long days to return power to the region, organizations such as the American Red Cross are providing much-needed supplies and nourishment to the victims of the superstorm.
So far, 24 Red Cross vehicles have been mobilized from North Carolina, said Barry Porter, regional director for the Triangle Red Cross. They travel to hard-hit areas with food and bulk essentials such as water, blankets and batteries.
In the first days after a storm hits, Porter said, the Red Cross dashes to buy supplies, while churches and other community organizations typically go out in the weeks that follow.
“This is a marathon for some of these families, not a sprint, to return them to their normal lives,” Porter said.
While the Northeast has seen the worst, the Red Cross has spread across several states in the storm zone.
“I guarantee you a lot of people aren’t thinking about West Virginia right now,” Porter said. “But we are.”
The Smithfield office of the Red Cross is pitching in to West Virginia, where heavy snowfall was the problem.
The Red Cross estimates that it was down 9,000 units of blood after the three days of diminished collection during the storm. To find locations and reserve times to donate blood, go to www.redcrossblood.org. The N.C. Baptist Men have set up two sites for meals and showers – one at Rutgers University and another in Toms River, N.J., said Gaylon Moss, the group’s disaster relief director. The organization expects to serve 16,000 meals a day.
The N.C. Baptist men are accepting donations to buy supplies for the relief effort.
“The situation can be so fluid, we have to roll with it,” Moss said.