Volunteers Help with Superstorm Sandy Relief Efforts

Volunteers Help with Superstorm Sandy Relief Efforts
“It was a good trip, but it was crazy. I would do it again tomorrow." - Cathy Solms

The American Red Cross Gateway to the Golden State Region played an important role in Superstorm Sandy relief efforts over the last few months, sending 300 volunteers and six emergency response vehicles, which is more than any other Red Cross region in the country.

The Monterey Bay Area Chapter was up for the challenge to help, sending more than 20 volunteers since November, including one volunteer for three deployments. Volunteers helped with everything from shelter operations, to mental health support, to logistics and driving emergency response vehicles.

Cathy Solms and Jacquie Shannon, volunteers from Carmel, drove an ERV more than 3,000 miles from Salinas to New York State, to help deliver hot meals, snacks, bottled water, and clean-up supplies.

After a six-day road trip, which featured a tire blowout in the Nevada desert and a breakdown near Chicago, the two volunteers reached their check-in point in New York.

“It was a good trip, but it was crazy,” said Solms. “I would do it again tomorrow. Even though we had the problems with the ERV along the way we weren’t going to let anything stop us from getting there.”

Every day at 7:30 a.m., Solms and Shannon took their ERV to a community center on central Long Island in Lindenhurst, to join about 30 other ERVs from all over the country. There, volunteers prepared up to 25,000 hot meals using outdoor tents and mobile kitchens.

On an average day, Solms and Shannon distributed up to 300 meals, snacks, bottles of water and other supplies. The Carmel residents also gave out hugs, handshakes, and words of encouragement.

The Red Cross has sent more than 17,000 trained Red Cross workers from around the nation to help. They have:

  • Served more than 17 million meals and snacks.
  • Handed out more than 7 million relief items such as cold weather items and clean-up supplies.
  • Provided nearly 113,000 health services and emotional support contacts for people who have been living in very tough conditions.
  • Overall, a range of groups provided more than 163,000 shelter stays for Sandy, and the Red Cross provided more than 81,000 of those stays.
  • View Superstorm Sandy relief effort photos on our national Flickr page.