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Volunteers help with storm relief
As if a week of Hurricane Sandy's destructive weather wasn't enough, northeastern states are being lashed by a winter storm, adding insult to injury with crippling freezing temperatures, snow, rain and wind.

Volunteers with the Southeast Coastal Georgia Chapter of the American Red Cross, headquartered in Brunswick, have deployed to the area to help however they can.

For some, it's a first trip up north and a first time in snowfall.

The two Emergency Response Vehicles began working in devastated areas in New Jersey Nov. 1 and will service the Garden State and storm-ravaged areas in New York for a month.

"It's 28 degrees up here right now, and it's going to get worse," said Justin Nolan, 27, a volunteer from St. Simons Island. "This is the first time I've ever been up north."

What shocked Nolan was the first impression of the destruction.

"It's like a war zone, literally," he said. "The houses are nearly hanging on... we can see where trees have fallen on cars and homes, and there's no power."

Volunteers are providing hot meals to those living in powerless homes, shelters and community centers.

"We've been bringing food to shelters and to centers, but we're also taking them door to door," Nolan said.

The elderly sometimes won't leave home for fear of being looted and losing everything, he said. And without power, they can't keep warm and may not be able to have a hot meal.

With freezing temperatures and the power out, it's dangerous for those still in the area and trying to rebuild their homes, Nolan said.

When the sun is out, it's not so bad, but temperatures drop fast, he said.

"The people don't need this. They didn't ask for it," Nolan said. "These people have just lost everything. Seaside Heights is flattened. It's so emotional."

Local police help clear the roads and keep the groups safe while traveling.

"People really are appreciative of what we're doing here," Nolan said. "I feel so blessed and privileged to be able to help them."

Locally, there are ways to help the American Red Cross.

"We will be collecting cash donations at the Stewbilee (this Saturday)," said Donna Davis, director of the Southeast Coastal Georgia American Red Cross. "Sending (money) to the 207 Rose Drive address will also work. We're very busy trying to raise money."

Donors wanting to send money should specify that the contribution is for Hurricane Sandy relief.

A live and silent auction will be held this weekend in conjunction with the Veteran's Day Golf Classic on Sea Island. The live auction is open to the public, and registration is still open for the tournament on Monday.

Learn more

To RSVP for the auction and to inquire about the golf tournament, call local Red Cross Director Donna Davis at 265-1695. The auction will be held from 6 to 9:30 p.m. Sunday at the Sea Island Retreat Club, 100 Kings Way, St. Simons Island.

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