SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The Red Cross has already launched a large scale disaster relief operation for Hurricane Isaac, they are calling it "One Red Cross" and it could last for several weeks in several states along the Gulf Coast region.
Red Cross volunteer Leah Heher of Santa Barbara is one of several women being deployed to the disaster relief effort in the Gulf. The 23 year old Heher spent Tuesday afternoon going through deployment orientation and preparing for her first Red Cross deployment.
"There's a lot of organizations that do a lot of good things but not a lot do as many good things as the Red Cross", Heher says.
Heher works at Westmont College in Montecito and says volunteering to help with disaster relief is a passion of hers.
"I was hoping I would get deployed at some point", Heher says, "but it's not something that I was expecting."
Heher and the other members of her deployment team will be working to provide a dry place to stay, a warm meal and emotional support to those affected by Hurricane Isaac.
"The Red Cross has now sent over 1200 members of various communities to help out with the volunteer effort", says Red Cross Santa Barbara County Director Julie McGovern.
Heher says she was part of a disaster relief team from her high school that responded to Gulf region in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina seven years ago.
"It literally changed my life, it changed what I wanted to do", Heher says, "I realized I wanted to work in disaster relief, so I don't think that this trip will be any different, I think I will grow from it and learn a lot from it."
Red Cross officials say the best way for the public to help with the disaster relief effort in the Gulf Coast is to make a cash donation to the Red Cross either on the website or by calling the local Red Cross office.
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