BY KEN LITTLE
Local Red Cross volunteers and others are reaching out to help hard-hit areas of the Northeast in the wake of last week's Superstorm Sandy.
The Greene County chapter of the American Red Cross "has some folks on stand-by but haven't deployed yet," said Anthony Morrison, executive director of the Greene County chapter, on Tuesday.
"Right now, we are looking for volunteers," Morrison said.
Applications are accepted at http://www.redcrossnetn.org, on the volunteer tab.
"Folks can fill the online application out at home. We are needing folks to be trained for disaster work," Morrison said.
Volunteers from other East Tennessee American Red Cross chapters are already in the field.
"As a Nor'easter heads toward the East Coast, the American Red Cross is preparing to respond to this new storm while our massive relief response to Superstorm Sandy grows by the day," regional Red Cross spokesman Stan Gilbert said in a news release.
As of Tuesday, "East Tennessee has deployed a total 48 volunteers to assist in the relief effort," Gilbert said.
To cope with the cold weather forecast this week for New Jersey and other areas affected by Superstorm Sandy, the Red Cross is sending 80,000 blankets to storm-affected areas "and will be working with partner organizations to have volunteers check on senior citizens on upper floors who can't access help, bringing them food and relief supplies," Gilbert said.
RED CROSS SUPPORT
More than 5,300 Red Cross workers from all over the country are supporting shelters, providing food and water at fixed sites, and driving through neighborhoods to distribute meals and supplies, he said.
Volunteers are providing mobile distribution of water, meals and snacks in neighborhoods in New York and New Jersey. Visit http://newsroom.redcross.org for the most current information.
Working in partnership with the Southern Baptist Convention, eight kitchens spread across New York and New Jersey are preparing and distributing hot meals, Gilbert said.
Jim Ramey, president of AIDNET of Greene County, is in charge of one of them.
Over the past weekend, 60 trailers of relief supplies such as personal hygiene items, cleaning supplies, rakes, shovels, tarps, dust masks and work gloves arrived in storm-damaged areas.
"We are doing everything possible to get help to where it is needed. While access to many areas is still challenging, we are expanding our reach into more communities every day," Gilbert said.
Greeneville Light and Power System currently has 12 contract personnel and 12 tree-trimming contractors in the areas hardest hit by Superstorm Sandy.
"They move from place to place as the work needs change. That activity is coordinated through their employer, not through us," said Bill Carroll, GL&PS general manager.
GL&PS full-time crews remain in this area.
"Temporarily releasing (contract personnel) from their obligation to work for us is all we have done toward helping," Carroll said
"We really don't have enough manpower to take the risk of having our people that far away in case something happens here."
HOW TO HELP
The response to Sandy "is likely to be the biggest Red Cross response in the U.S. in the past five years," Gilbert said.
Through Tuesday, the Red Cross has helped people in 10 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico who have been affected by Sandy, Gilbert said.
The organization has served more than 1 million meals and snacks, provided more than 17,000 health services and emotional support contacts, and handed out more than 60,000 relief items.
To donate, visit http://www.redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767), or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
The public can also use the "donate" feature on the free Red Cross Apps to support the Red Cross relief response.
"Your gift enables the Red Cross to provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance to those affected," Gilbert said.