Bay Area helps victims of Superstorm Sandy


The Bay Area has not just been sending money and volunteers to the East Coast to help Sandy victims. People are also giving literally of themselves to help those people who were injured.

The Oakland Red Cross blood donation center is still busy almost a week after Sandy devastated the East Coast. Donors poured in when the storm was at its worst. People like Karen Hebel of Oakland are still motivated to donate after seeing the devastation Sandy left behind, "You can't be not motivated if you see anything on TV or hear reports about what happened in New York, New Jersey, all up and down the coast."

Steven Burrows decided while donating money helps the Red Cross function, being a universal blood donor is just as important, "I wanted to help my friends on the East Coast and instead of writing a check, I have good blood, O negative blood, I decided I'd donate blood instead."

Donations are 25 percent higher than they usually are at this time of year.

When Sandy hit the East Coast it caused the closure of blood collections centers in the affected states due to power outages and flooding. The need there became not just for blood, but also blood platelets which help blood to clot. That's what the Bay Area and national Red Cross sent to the affected areas.

"Platelets were more of a concern because they only have a shelf life of about five days," Red Cross spokesperson Jared Schultz said. "The inventory is going to run out, so we had to ship some of the inventory out there."

82 Bay Area volunteers have been sent to help those affected by the storm. A Red Cross emergency vehicle is also being shipped back east.

Leaving on a drive to New York City are Shellby Gilds of San Jose and Steuart Chessen of Cupertino. It'll take five days to get to the East Coast where Chessen says they plan on driving around and doing whatever they can to provide comfort, food, and clothing to those who need it, "We look for people that need our help, Red Cross help, and we notify our offices and make sure they get the help and we provide a hot meal. Stuff like that."

As far as blood donations go, the Red Cross is now asking people to make appointments to donate instead of just going to a center. They say that there has been a large surge of donors and people have had to wait for a while to donate, so making appointments will make the process run a lot smoother.

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