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Outpouring of Donations to NBC Connecticut Storm Relief Drive is Overwhelming

Opportunities for volunteering in relief efforts and donating goods, funds, or blood are available through the American Red Cross.

On Sunday, NBC Connecticut held a Storm Relief Drive to assist victims of Hurricane Sandy in the Sears parking lot in Corbins Corner in West Hartford.

By 1 p.m., plastic bags full of donated clothing, toys, and household goods filled the trailers of several trucks and covered the grassy median in the parking area. Food, water, and personal care items were also collected. By 1 p.m., organizers had to turn people away because they had no way to transport any more donations.

NBC Connecticut's website has a list of other organizations which are looking for volunteers or collecting on behalf of hurricane victims.

Residents looking to volunteer or to donate funds or blood can also contact the American Red Cross at 1-800-RED CROSS or www.redcross.org.

According to a release issued by the Farmington office of the American Red Cross, on Saturday there were still 29 shelters open in Connecticut, housing more than 300. While many people are returning home as the power comes back, there are still people without power or water at home who need a safe, warm place to stay.

As more citizens return to their homes, the Red Cross is working to provide other services to support recovery, including distribution of water, snacks and cleanup supplies.

The Red Cross has been distributing cleanup kits, snacks and water in Fairfield, Norwalk and Westport. Please note that distribution routes and towns are subject to change as needs in communities continue to evolve.

“The Red Cross response in Connecticut has been significant,” said American Red Cross Connecticut and Rhode Island Region CEO Mario Bruno in a news release. “Since October 28, the Red Cross has supported 47 shelters, providing nearly 3,000 overnight stays. We have served more than 55,000 snacks and meals and distributed hundreds of cleanup kits and thousands of comfort kits, containing basic personal care needs.”

Bruno said in the release that the Red Cross has made numerous health and mental health contacts. “We have trained, licensed medical professionals who help us to meet with clients, assess their needs for medical care or emotional support and connect them with more in-depth services, if needed.” He noted that more than 600 volunteers have supported Red Cross relief operations in Connecticut.

“We are grateful to the many people who have stepped forward to help. Our local, trained volunteers have responded with tremendous dedication, despite the fact that many of them were affected at their own homes. We are also grateful to our neighbors from the Pioneer Valley Chapter of the Red Cross in Western Massachusetts and to the many partner organizations that support our work.”

Bruno also said that the need continues for blood and urged people to call 1-800-RED CROSS or visit www.redcross.org to find a nearby blood drive. “Storm Sandy disrupted blood drives in many states. We hope Connecticut residents will help us recover the shortfall in donations and assure a safe, adequate blood supply.”

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HOW TO HELP The Red Cross response to Sandy is very large, and will be very costly. Those who want to help can make a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief by visiting www.redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. They can also use the “donate” feature on the free Red Cross Apps for mobile devices to support this relief response. Contributions may also be sent to local Red Cross chapters or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.

PLEASE GIVE BLOOD More than 360 Red Cross blood drives have been cancelled due to the storm, representing a loss of as many as 12,000 blood and platelet products. People who are eligible, especially in places not affected by the storm, are asked to schedule a donation appointment in the days and weeks to come.

To schedule a donation time or get more information about giving blood, people can visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). To give blood, someone must be at least 17 years of age, meet weight and height requirements and be in general good health. Donors should bring their Red Cross blood donor card or other form of positive ID with them.  Some states allow 16-year-olds to give with parental consent.

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