Another Westchester Resident Heads to Gulf for Red Cross Disaster Relief Effort

Six states in the Gulf Coast region affected by Tropical Storm Isaac have 60 Red Cross or community shelters.

A second New Rochelle resident is heading to the Gulf Coast in the wake of Tropical Storm Isaac.

Ana Torres, who has lived in New Rochelle since 1969 and raised her children in the public school system, said she will be flying to Hattiesburg, MS, to help with Red Cross relief efforts.

"That's where they send us at first," she said in a phone interview an hour before she had to leave for the airport. "Then they'll probably send us somewhere else."

Torres said she will be doing case work.

"That is when you interview people to find out what they lost, how much they lost," she said. "Then we do whatever we can to help them."

Once their immediate needs are met—food, clothing, shelter, money—Torres said the Red Cross can help guide them through the state and federal relief systems, such as Federal Emergency Management Agency.

"I speak Spanish, so I'll be able to help in that way, too," she said, adding that her language skills helped recently in the aftermath of a fire in Rockland County.

Torres has volunteered with the American Red Cross Greater New York Region for more than 20 years.

"To be able to help people feels wonderful, especially when they hug you and say thank you after they have lost everything," she said.

"I've been given so many things," Torres said, and she said she likes giving back to the community.

She said she is hoping to catch up with her neighbor, Corrine Gaunes, who left for Louisiana Tuesday.

"I recruited her" to come work with the Red Cross, Torres said.

More volunteers is something the organization needs, she said, so people should consider helping out.

And donations are critical, especially during disasters like Isaac.

"Every little bit helps," Torres said.

The Red Cross is providing help and comfort to people in communities across the South who are confronted by flooding, power outages, tornadoes and high temperatures from Isaac.

The organization's relief effort includes food, shelter, relief supplies and comfort for people dealing with this storm, and the Red Cross will be in the region for weeks helping people recover and get back on their feet.

  • Thursday night more than 4,200 people stayed in 60 Red Cross or community shelters across 6 states, with most of the shelter populations concentrated in Louisiana and Mississippi.

  • If people need to find a shelter, they can download the Red Cross Hurricane app, visit redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767), or check local media outlets.

  • As Isaac and its rains move on, the Red Cross is going into more and more communities every day. We have more than 200 emergency response vehicles, hundreds of volunteers and truck loads of relief supplies beginning to circulate in affected neighborhoods when it’s safe.

  • More than 3,000 trained Red Cross disaster workers from all over the United States are in the Gulf region to help.

  • The Red Cross has served more than 42,000 meals and snacks; and we’re gearing up to serve thousands more in the coming days. We’re working with the Southern Baptist Convention who has mobile kitchens capable of producing thousands of meals being set up to serve cooked meals.

  • In the days ahead, we’ll be providing people food, water and supplies like clean up and personal hygiene items, coolers, shovels, rakes, tarps, gloves and masks.

To donate, people can visit www.redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800- 733-2767) or text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

After a difficult summer of helping people affected by wildfires, power outages and floods, Red Cross resources are stretched thin, a spokesperson said, adding that Red Cross relief services for Isaac could cost as much as tens of millions of dollars.

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