Clearwater volunteers for the Red Cross drive relief to New Jersey

Volunteers to serve hot meals in NJ

CLEARWATER, Fla. - Thousands of American Red Cross volunteers are on their way to help.  Dorothy Kendle is just one of them.

"Right now we're just checking out the truck to make sure everything is good to go," she said, while checking the tire pressure on a Red Cross truck.

"I'm from Chicago originally, but I've been down here over 20 years," she said.

She and volunteer Frank Hall will deliver hot meals to people who really need them in New Jersey.

Tuesday morning, in a Clearwater parking lot, they got ready.  "Radio is good. The heater is good," said Kendle going over a safety checklist.

"There's going to be a lot of people who need the help up there.  So many people without power.  The next time it could be us," said Kendle.

This trip will be her first out-of-town Red Cross deployment to a state declared a disaster area, where rescuers plucked homeowners from high water and power outages will likely darken hope.

At a Red Cross outpost in Washington, D.C., the president promised relief will be swift.

"I want you to cut through red tape. I want you to cut through bureaucracy," he said.

Volunteers like Hall know from their relief efforts in Joplin, Missouri, Alabama, and Hurricane Irene how it's easy to prepare for a relief mission, but so hard to forget.

"You're never prepared for the emotional impact and the bond that you develop with these folks," said Hall.

"They're all in here," he said tapping his heart.

There are thousands more volunteers just like them on the road tonight who know a hot meal fills up a stomach but a serving of compassion heals the heart.

"You got to help each other out.  That's all we got," said Kendle.

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