Middle TN offers support, donations after Sandy - WSMV News 4

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Middle TN offers support, donations after Sandy

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Hurricane Sandy made landfall Monday evening on the East Coast, and it did not take long for the impact of the storm to make its way to Middle Tennessee.

The local chapter of the American Red Cross rallied local support quickly. Already, it has 14 Middle Tennessee volunteers on the way to New Jersey, where they will help bring shelter and supplies to people who have lost everything.

The group also sent five emergency response vehicles loaded with critical supplies, water, cleanup kits and food.

"I think this is a very, very serious storm," said Beth Ferguson, with the American Red Cross. "They are going to be doing anything from driving emergency response vehicle through neighborhoods to pass out meals and cleanup kits after the storm has passed, working in Red Cross shelters to make sure people are safe."

For those staying home, the Red Cross urges donations of cash, blood and platelets.

"The thing is we're trying to get ahead of this storm. It's too late. Once it's already hit, those products have to already be on the shelves, so that's why we're trying to ask people to come in, roll up your sleeves and help," said Regina Raccuglia, with the American Red Cross.

"I can't imagine what they're going through right now. I've done a few disasters, and I think this will be the biggest one I've ever done," said volunteer Mark Meghreblian.

The Red Cross volunteers will spend two weeks living in and operating a shelter for storm victims in Tinton Falls, NJ, which is in the southern part of the state.

Tinton Falls is in one of the areas most devastated by the storm, and many homes were ripped from their foundations.

"I'm expecting people hurting, a lot of people upset, so hopefully we can help a little bit," said volunteer Tonie Reynolds.

Just getting to New Jersey will be a challenge as the storm impacted many lines of transportation.

"The flooding is a concern - how are our volunteers going to get around areas, how do we get supplies to the areas we're serving," said volunteer Valerie Lelek.

Reynolds, of Franklin, said she is more than ready to help after she lived through a similar disaster at home.

"A lot of people helped me out when we had the floods here in Nashville, so it's a pay-it-forward kind of thing," she said.

For more information on how to contribute to the Red Cross, visit: http://www.redcross.org/tn/nashville.

Also, the Community Foundation, which connects donors to causes important to their community, is partnering with sister groups in the Northeast to provide valuable aid. For more on how you can contribute, visit: http://www.cfmt.org/.

Copyright WSMV 2012 (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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