Red Cross continues large Sandy relief operation: South La. volunteers respond

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

As the remnants of Sandy continue to hammer communities along the East Coast, the American Red Cross is responding across multiple states with food, shelter and emotional support. Eleven Red Cross workers from South Louisiana (most from the Capital Area) deployed Saturday before travel was restricted, and 25 more are anxious to deploy as soon as travel conditions allow.

The Red Cross is focused on people’s emergency needs. More than 11,000 people stayed in 250 Red Cross or community shelters Monday night in 16 states. More people are expected tonight.

The local volunteers will join 1,700 specially trained Red Cross disaster workers from across the country who have deployed to the East Coast. They are supporting shelters, food operations, disaster assessment, basic first aid, mental health support and other disaster relief activities. Additional volunteers may deploy in the coming days.

“We are proud beyond measure of our south Louisiana volunteers who have gone to the East Coast to help,” said Bobbi Zaunbrecher, executive director of the Red Cross in south Louisiana. “They take with them not just another set of hands, but knowledge and judgment born of experience in our frequent, and recent, responses.  Louisiana volunteers inspire confidence in their fellows from all over the country and hope in those they help.  We are perceived as having survived ‘the worst’ and that is incredibly meaningful to others.”  

The Red Cross has served more than 25,000 meals and snacks so far, activated 167 response vehicles and shipped in more than 230,000 ready-to-eat meals. This is a huge disaster, bigger than any one organization can handle and the Red Cross is working closely with multiple partners including a variety of civic groups, advocacy organizations, professional organizations and houses of worship to share their expertise and volunteers.

HOW PEOPLE CAN HELP Those who want to help can make a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief by visiting or calling 1-800-RED-CROSS. People also can text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to our local American Red Cross chapter.

SEARCHING FOR A LOVED ONE? The Red Cross Safe and Well website is available. Concerned family and friends can search the list of those who have registered themselves as “safe and well” by clicking on the “Search Registrants” button. The results of a successful search will display a loved one’s first name, last name and a brief message. From a computer, visit; from a smart phone, visit or call your local Red Cross chapter.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or join our blog at