Nearly a month has passed since Hurricane Sandy bombarded the East Coast, leaving a path of destruction behind. Many people there are still struggling to get back to normal.
Some local volunteers from the Des Moines Chapter of American Red Cross loaded up their bags to head off and help on Sunday for the second time since the storm hit.
The images of the devastation on the East Coast were too much for Red Cross volunteer Linda Erickson to sit back and watch, she knew she needed to help.
“I’m going as a client services supervisor, and we’ll be working with some of the people who have had losses, helping them move onto a better place, more permanent housing,” she explained to Channel 13.
Over 60 volunteers from all across Iowa have already made trips to the East Coast including longtime volunteer Jim Gillespie.
He spent two weeks helping with clean-up efforts, before he came back Iowa to spend the holiday with his family. Four days later, he got the call from the Red Cross asking him to head back.
Gillespie and Erickson were briefed at Des Moines’ Red Cross headquarters before heading to New York.
They’ll be joining volunteers helping with transportation and housing for storm victims.
“You try and get them back into what normal was, as quick as possible, so you can get them back into that routine that they’re used to.” Gillespie says the long hours and multiple trips are worth it. “It is meeting a need, and it does make a difference, those people count, so we’re here to help.”
The Red Cross is always looking for volunteers. Information on donating or giving your time can be found on the Red Cross website.