Alaskans headed to Florida to help hurricane victims

Posted: Sunday, September 05, 2004

As Hurricane Frances thrashes Florida with more than 90 mph winds in what emergency officials there have said could be a "marathon of anxiety and devastation," three members of the American Red Cross of Alaska are on their way to help.

"Someone needs to do it," said Cindy Newby of Soldotna on Saturday as she was busy preparing for her trip to Florida. "The Red Cross called and asked if I would go, and so I am."

Carla Stanley of Homer and Carlene Berquist from Juneau were already en route to the Sunshine State by Saturday afternoon.

The three members of the American Red Cross of Alaska are heading down to provide Red Cross services in anticipation of the massive relief operation needed for Hurricane Frances.

All three volunteers from Alaska will assist in the feeding and sheltering aspects of the relief efforts. Their deployment brings the total number of Red Cross volunteers from Alaska to nine people. All of the volunteers have committed at least three weeks of service.

As of Friday evening, the Red Cross had opened 82 shelters with an approximate shelter population of 21,000 people. The Red Cross is expecting many more shelters to open as events of the mighty storm unfold.

The projected cost of the American Red Cross disaster response to Hurricane Charley was $50 million, however, it is anticipated Hurricane Frances will be even more devastating.

Consequently, the American Red Cross is counting on the public and its philanthropic partners to rise to the challenge and support their efforts, since donations are crucial to the Red Cross' ability to immediately meet the needs of those affected by devastating storms, the agency said in a press release.

Donations can be made locally by calling (907) 646-5400 or mailing funds to the American Red Cross of Alaska, 235 E. Eighth Ave., Anchorage, AK 99501; or to the American Red Cross by calling (800) 435-7669 or by mailing funds to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, D.C. 20013.

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