When you think of Hurricane damage, New York and the upper East Coast does not quickly come to mine.

Most storms strike the Gulf Coast, South Florida, or somewhere in the Southeastern shores of the United States.

While Sandy has made landfall in the New Jersey/New York area, many have already responded from along the Panhandle.
Gulf Power has sent 70 crewmembers to help in the power restoration efforts in Pennsylvania, according to Gulf Power Communications Specialist Natalie Smith, while the Red Cross has also sprung into action.

Locally six volunteers, a staff member, and an emergency vehicle have been sent from the Northwest Florida chapter of the American Red Cross.

"We are doing what we have always done with a national presence," said Jerry Kindle, CEO of the Northwest Florida American Red Cross Chapter. "From the five chapters in the Jacksonville District we have over 30 people on the ground assisting in the wake of Hurricane Sandy."

While the effects of Hurricane Sandy have been documented on television in the news, it is the assistance for the recovery, which has stretched the resources of groups like the American Red Cross at the local level.

Some of the items that have stretched the resources this year alone include the floods back in early June, Hurricane Isaac, the wildfires out west, and now this most recent storm.

Kindle doesn't know if it is the economy or disaster fatigue that is hurting support.

"When we had the tornados in Alabama last year it was as easy as picking up the phones to get donations and resources," Kindle said.
"When it came to Isaac efforts and this disaster we have been struggling to raise money.

"It could be because last year someone painted a picture that we were in a recovery that didn't happen or it could have just been there were so many ties locally to Alabama."

The American Red Cross is heading up the local efforts as all calls to the United Way of Santa Rosa County are directing inquiries to the agency.

Locally Pen Air Federal Credit Union is collecting monetary donations for the relief efforts of the American Red Cross.

According to Pen Air FCU President and CEO, Stewart Ramsey funds will be collected at all Pen Air locations for the next two weeks.

“Our hearts go out to all those affected by this horrible storm." Stewart said. "Pen Air Federal Credit Union understands the mission of the Red Cross, and hopes our community will respond in helping support that mission.”

Nationally the United Way has established a Sandy Recovery Fund to address the near and long term recovery needs.

Visit www.UWSandyRecovery.org to donate to the fund or you can use your phone to text RECOVERY to 52000 to make a $10 donation.