Local volunteers heading to Gulf Coast to help with Hurricane Ida relief effort

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ST. LOUIS – Some St. Louis residents are gearing up to go help our neighbors down river dealing with Hurricane Ida.

The American Red Cross has been working across the United States, from wildfires out west to flooding in Tennessee, and now Hurricane Ida taking aim at the Gulf Coast.

For volunteer Sue Krueger, she’s heading back into the storm again. 

“I just felt a calling,” she said. “I’ve always felt a calling to help. I’ve been in the medical field for a long time and just always wanted to help people.” 

Sunday will mark 16 years since Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans.

Residents in Louisiana are dealing with another storm this weekend expected to make landfall on Sunday.

The storm could bring as much as 20 inches of rain along with a storm surge of 10 to 15 feet aboveground. And Krueger is heading into the storm to help evacuees. 

“They try to get us in before the storm hits,” she said. “Last year, I went down for the Delta and was there during the hurricane.” 

The American Red Cross is preparing shelters for the thousands of people from Texas to the Florida panhandle that will be affected.

Truckloads of cots, blankets, comfort kits, and ready-to-eat meals, some 68,000 are already on their way to the Gulf Coast.

“It’s just a lot of strangers in a church basement or gymnasium,” Krueger said. “Whoever donates the space to us. We sometimes have to move two or three times depending on the weather and danger. People come in with just the belongings on their backs, whatever they can carry. Then it’s our duty to give them shelter and food, to see to their needs.” 

They’ll be opening hurricane evacuation centers and they’ve pre-stocked hospitals with blood supplies for transfusions and to make sure they’re ready for whatever they’ll face.

The Red Cross is always looking for volunteers to help. On a local level, they’re seeking blood donors to help with the supply and demand.

The non-profit supplies about 40% of the nation’s blood to hospitals and medical facilities across the country. How you can help, is by giving blood. You can call 1-800-RedCross to make an appointment.

As a longtime volunteer with the American Red Cross, Krueger has seen the evacuation centers and the need up close. 

“People need help and we need more volunteers,” says Krueger. “We’re desperate for volunteers right now. With climate change our fires are increasing, our hurricanes are increasing.”  

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