As flooding and destruction from Hurricane Katrina continue to ravage the Gulf States, the opportunity to help those devastated by the disaster is growing.
In the wake of a storm, truckers can play an important role in the relief effort by providing donated time, labor and, of course, transportation for supplies and rebuilding in crisis areas, said Patricia Kraemer, disaster and emergency services director for the Mississippi Gulf Coast chapter of the American Red Cross.
"We always need trucks to pick up supplies and take them to shelters and such," Kraemer said. "We are always in need of transportation of supplies and free labor."
Kraemer said it is important to contact the Red Cross as soon as you decide to become involved with the relief effort.
"People contact us to volunteer," Kraemer. "We go from there, letting them know what our needs are, what their availability is and what they have to offer that could assist us."
Although truckers' help is always appreciated, Devorah Goldburg, spokesperson for the American Red Cross, said some chapters of the organization might feel that an overwhelming volunteer response from truckers could complicate the logistical problems in a disaster area.
Goldburg said truckers who want to become involved with the relief effort should contact the American Red Cross headquarters or get in touch with a Red Cross chapter in the disaster area. If load-hauling assistance is not needed or wanted, she recommended donating blood, money or taking part in one of the Red Cross's other disaster volunteer programs.
For more information on volunteering with the American Red Cross or any of its local chapters located in areas of tropical storm activity, please contact one of the following Red Cross organizations. Because of high call volume, destroyed phone lines and a lack of electricity in many areas, some Red Cross chapters' phone lines and Web sites might be slow or not working at all.