Efforts are under way in the lakes area to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina, but monetary donations are most urgently needed.
"This will be one of our largest responses ever," said Deb Radi, interim director for the Northern Lakes Area Chapter of the American Red Cross in Brainerd.
As of Tuesday, about 21 disaster relief workers from Minnesota, including those from St. Cloud, Duluth, Alexandria and Bemidji, were sent into the hurricane areas. Radi said the Red Cross plans to deploy about 1,900 disaster relief workers nationwide by the end of the weekend.
To make a donation
To donate to Red Cross relief efforts, write checks to the American Red Cross, 2029 S. Sixth St., Suite 109, Brainerd, MN 56401.
Write "Hurricane Katrina" or "disaster relief fund" on the memo portion of the check.
To donate to The Salvation Army relief efforts, send a donation to The Salvation Army, 208 S. Fifth St., Brainerd, MN 56401.
Write on the check that the money is for Hurricane Katrina relief.
Radi said people who wish to become Red Cross disaster relief workers would have to undergo training first, so it's unlikely those who aren't already trained as disaster relief workers would be able to be sent right away to the South.
But those interested in becoming trained as an American Red Cross volunteer may call 829-4004 for more information and to get the training process started.
Above all, monetary donations are needed to help the relief efforts, said Radi. Donations have started to come in at the Brainerd office during the past two days for Hurricane Katrina victims.
Radi said the Red Cross is partnering with several other agencies to gear up to be able to serve 500,000 meals a day starting this weekend. The Red Cross has opened 254 shelters or evacuation centers in the hurricane-ravaged areas.
Salvation Army Capt. Brian Reed is on standby and possibly could be sent to support the relief efforts, but he hasn't been ordered to go yet. Reed is regional emergency disaster coordinator for northern Minnesota for the Salvation Army in Brainerd.
Reed said The Salvation Army is taking monetary donations for Hurricane Katrina victims, but at this point it isn't taking material items because there isn't a way to get those donated items there right now.
Reed said a $100 donation to the Salvation Army will feed a family of four for two days, provide two cases of drinking water and one household cleanup kit, containing brooms, mops, buckets and cleaning supplies.
JODIE TWEED can be reached at email@example.com or 855-5858.
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