Help clean up D.C.

Lend a helping hand to victims of hurricane

AU students who would like to help the D.C. area recover from Hurricane Isabel can find several agencies looking for assistance as the District has been designated a Disaster Area by President George W. Bush.

"We are going to be needing volunteers and support over the next numerous weeks," as electricity and water is restored around the region, said Ryan Kaltenbaugh, spokesman for the American Red Cross of the National Capital Area.

Saturday morning, Kaltenbaugh said that the Red Cross was working on coordinating relief efforts and staffing emergency shelters for those displaced by Isabel. He suggested that interested students call their local Red Cross chapter to learn specifically what they can do to help.

The Greater D.C. Cares area volunteer network is also looking for help. Anyone who is at least 18 years old can sign up for this network online at www.dc-cares.org.

Kaltenbaugh said that the Red Cross is welcoming financial donations, which can be given by calling (800) HELP-NOW, or (800) 435-7669.

According to a Red Cross press release dated Sept. 16, the organization's Disaster Relief Fund, used to help those displaced by everything from house fires to hurricanes, is empty. While companies including Starbucks and Pepsi have donated supplies, "there are people who need food or blankets or cots or things we can't get donate," Kaltenbaugh said.

He also said that blood drives originally scheduled during the storm could not continue, but the need for donated blood still exists.

"We're really concerned about the local blood supply," Kaltenbaugh said. "Once this is all settled down ... we're going to need people to give blood in the next couple weeks."

Federal Emergency Management Agency spokesman Zach Kittrie said that students could be helpful simply by staying informed about what is going on in the area and how people can get assistance.

Bush declared states of emergency for the District, Maryland and Virginia, meaning that federal money can go to people and businesses to help recover from Hurricane Isabel.

"If anybody was flooded or had their car hit by a tree," Kittrie said, they can get help.

The FEMA Web site instructs those who need help to call (800) 621-FEMA or (800) 621-3362. Those with speech or hearing impairments can call (800) 462-7585.

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