In the week since Hurricane Ian hit Florida, the American Red Cross and partners have been working tirelessly to provide food, shelter and comfort for people facing the heartbreaking devastation left behind.  

About 1,600 Red Crossers, including nearly 40 from the Eastern New York region, are supporting relief efforts.  

Tonya L. Woodard of Saranac Lake volunteers out of our Morrisonville office. She prepositioned to Florida ahead of the storm.

“I was deployed to Orlando, Florida on Sept. 25 pre-hurricane to help set up evacuation shelters for the incoming hurricane, Ian. Once the shelters were in place, I transitioned into HQ where I am currently contacting our inbound volunteers and deploying them to areas throughout SW Florida to help setup and maintain long term shelters for those that may have been displaced by Hurricane Ian.

“Our biggest project to date was setting up a mass shelter in Fort Meyers at the Hertz Arena that could hold up to 2,500 people. Dozens of Red Cross volunteers were contacted and sent there to staff that shelter alone. There are several shelters that are up and running and being staffed by our truly amazing, wonderful, talented volunteers from all around the United States!”