Bay Area volunteer number 62 departed from SFO Wednesday. Mary Stompe says she'll be dedicating the next two week to working at shelters for people displaced by the storm. Stompe signed on with the Red Cross right after 9-11. Now, she is on her way to a small town on the Texas-Louisiana border leaving behind her husband, son, and her job in Petaluma. "It's so worth it that putting my life on hold for a few weeks really means nothing to me and I think would mean a lot oto folks impacted by the hurricane," she said.
Isaac was downgraded to a tropical storm Wednesday, but continues to hammer the Gulf Coast displacing thousands. There are already 80 Red Cross or community shelters in six states. "The storm is kind of stalled and is just kind of hanging on the outskirts of Louisiana, at least the eye of it. So, that's probably the greatest challenge that we have now is working to get in to asses the actual impact and begin delivering those recovery services," said Gregory Smith, director of disaster services for the Bay Area Red Cross.
Smith says 62 trained volunteers from the Bay Area have been deployed to the Gulf Coast so far including Ann Herosy of Campbell. "Just sheets of rain coming down and still a lot of wind, and it's just been going on since yesterday afternoon, just about the same thing, so that water is piling up. There are a lot of power outages," she told ABC7 News from Madisonville, Louisiana.
Herosy says they are trying to gather data on the damage the storm is causing, but it's obvious the relief effort will be needed for some time. Help is on the way. "It's just so personally fulfilling to be able to help somebody and get them through that really tough time," she says.
In a disaster like this, the best way to help if you want to donate is by giving money. Click here for more information or call the Red Cross donation hotline at 1-800-HELP-NOW.