NC Red Cross volunteers travel to the Gulf Coast ahead of Hurricane Ida's impact

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Several local Red Cross volunteers left North Carolina over the weekend to provide disaster relief to southeast Louisiana ahead of Hurricane Ida’s life-threatening landfall.

Right now, volunteers are on the ground in Baton Rouge, Louisiana preparing for Hurricane Ida’s arrival and aftermath.

On Saturday, North Carolina’s Red Cross joined the effort.

Volunteers: Daryl Steinbraker, Gene Pavone and Mike Thompson left Wilmington Saturday morning. They are some of the 30 volunteers from our state-assisting local volunteers.

Ida is expected to strengthen to a category 4 storm hitting parts of Lousiana and the Gulf Coast sometime Sunday.

“This is a state that was hit five times by tropical storms last year, and I remember my team going down there and driving for miles, saying they saw no telephone poles standing for miles,” said Barry Porter with the American Red Cross. He is the acting regional CEO for eastern North Carolina and manages our local response.

Porter says volunteers will work up to 16 hours a day for weeks — providing food and mental health resources, shelter, and safety. Which is an extra challenge with COVID-19.

“There is real concern about the congregation of people in a large setting, so we will be opening more shelters and having more physical distance, everyone coming to the shelter will be required to wear a mask, whether they are vaccinated or not, all of the PPE will be in place, the cleaning methods, the CDC requirements,” said Porter.

Volunteers are not required to be vaccinated but Porter says it’s strongly encouraged.

The American Red Cross is always looking for volunteers and donations. To join go to their website to learn more.

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