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Community comes together to help Sandy's victims

Posted at: 10/31/2012 10:44 PM
Updated at: 10/31/2012 11:29 PM
By: Don Hudson

nullOrganizations in the Rochester area are coming together, raising money to help others in the most affected areas of Sandy.

On Wednesday, the Red Cross provided a way for all of us to help our neighbors right here, and people hundreds of miles away.

Brittany Arnold has seen the destruction along the shore of New York on television, and Wednesday the SUNY Brockport student wanted to do anything she could to help.

"I just wanted to come in here and help and it makes me feel better because you are actually helping even though you are so far away from everyone - you are making a difference in helping these people," she says.

For Brandon Daehn, helping out was a little more personal, but he too felt that same fire to do something. So, like Brittany and a couple dozen other people, he volunteered to take donation calls for the Red Cross.

"I got a lot of friends and family who live in the storm area, my aunt and uncle live in Delaware and I saw their posts on Facebook and then I heard about the telethon and said, yea, let's go," Brandon says.

Throughout the day News 10 NBC did live reports from the Red Cross Rochester offices to promote donations.

"You could definitely tell after you did the camera shots for the news - there would be calls one after another from people seeing and hearing it on the news and calling in," says Daehn.

Slowly the amount grew from a few hundred dollars, to several thousand dollars. The phone bank effort also gave people on the other end of the phone a chance to feel like they were reaching out to those devastated by Sandy's path of destruction.

"He said, I grew up on Long Island and watching the devastation just makes my heart go out to places I recognize on TV. A great reason to donate," says Erin Caldwell of the Red Cross.

Red Cross CEO John Buttrill was impressed and grateful for the donations. "The folks in this area are so generous it is just wonderful."

While the phone bank effort was underway, more Red Cross volunteers from the greater Rochester area were also getting involved. News10NBC caught them packing up to head to the heart of the destruction to help on the ground.

Duane Stevens is going to go help for two weeks. He's done it before and says while its not easy - its always worth it.

"A feeling greatness inside a good feeling to help other people who are in desperate need," says Duane.

The Finger Lakes Region of the American Red Cross has also opened four shelters in Wayne and Monroe County in response to power outages throughout the region. The Monroe County site is at the Webster Rec Center. The Wayne County locations are at St. John Episcopal Church in Sodus, Second Baptist Church in Walworth and Lighthouse Community Fellowship Church in South Butler.   

In addition, the Red Cross is collaborating with the fire departments of Williamson, Wolcott, Ontario, and Savannah to distribute water and other supplies to homes without power.