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Central NY volunteers to help Hurricane Sandy victims

Central New Yorkers are helping the millions of people affected by Superstorm Sandy.  Agencies like the Salvation Army and Church World Service are raising money or collecting donations for storm victims.  Others, like Red Cross Disaster Relief volunteers  will go to the areas hardest hit by the storm.

More than a dozen central New Yorkers joined the relief brigade for the Red Cross yesterday. Volunteers stowed suitcases, food and supplies into a caravan of vehicles headed down to the greater New York city area, ready to be assigned to help the people ravaged by the Hurricane Sandy.  

Dave Webber of Fulton, doesn't know exactly where he'll be assigned, but he knows there are many in need. "This has been a horrible event for a lot of people -- millions of people," said Webber. "And I expect to see some emotion and we have to be ready for it.  We have to be ready to understand that and try to reassure people and make them feel as comfortable as possible."   

Nicki Macallair says the Red Cross does more than provide food and shelter.  She says one of the most important thing volunteers can do is listen.

"When disaster strikes, your body physically shuts down.  Your emotions shut down.  You don't think clearly.  And it's always nice  to have someone come in and say, 'Okay, this is the first thing we can do.  This is a little step we can take towards recovery.  This is a phone number you can call.'  So we bring that kind of calmness to the midst of a disaster," Macallair said.

The Red Cross is also urging people to give blood after Sandy.  Officials say there's a shortfall of about 9,000 donations because  of blood drive cancelations.