About 40 volunteers from the American Red Cross Bay Area, Palo Alto, Santa Clara Valley and Sonoma-Mendocino chapters have been sent to Alabama, Mississippi and Texas, American Red Cross Bay Area spokeswoman Melanie Sanders said.
The volunteers are working with shelters, distributing food and providing counseling services as extra emotional support for residents who went through Hurricane Katrina and are now facing Gustav, Sanders said.
Bay Area Red Cross chapters also have sent out emergency response vehicles to move around communities providing food and comfort kits containing hygiene products for those who are not lodged in shelters.
Sanders said Red Cross crews began moving cots, blankets and volunteers into the projected storm area in the middle of last week in anticipation of the hurricane, which today was downgraded to a Category 1 and centered in Louisiana.
"A lot of our work happens before the storm hits," she said.
Residents moved into shelters all day Sunday, according to Sanders, who added that many of the evacuations in areas previously hit by Hurricane Katrina were mandatory.
The Red Cross is accepting donations for those affected by Hurricane Gustav online at www.redcross.org and by phone at (800) RED-CROSS.