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Central Coast volunteers are in Florida as recovery efforts are underway

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Posted at 6:46 PM, Sep 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-30 22:36:45-04

Hundreds of volunteers from the Red Cross are on the ground in Florida helping those affected by Hurricane Ian.

At least five of those volunteers are from the Central Coast and Jessica Hodge is one of them.

Her main role is shelter manager.

Hodge left her home on the Central Coast and arrived in Florida Sunday night.

“So, when I first arrived in Tallahassee we spent a lot of time going and getting big delivery trucks so we can deliver disaster supplies, creating pallets of food and water and loading them on those trucks and those trucks are going out to highest need areas," said Hodge.

Hodge said her team was sent to Jacksonville to help set up an evacuation shelter there — offering food, water, and a place to stay to 41 evacuees.

“We’ve had so many folks that are just happy that we are there. They’re so happy to get a meal and just to have someone to talk to about their personal situations so it’s just been great," stated Hodge.

Red Cross volunteers are working 12-15 hour-long days, but there are moments that make it all worthwhile.

“A lovely client, Christina, that we’ve been working with for a couple of days, she drew a picture of me and her together and gave it to me when she left the shelter and that felt really good," said Hodge.

Hodge said the road to recovery is a long one, but one that the Red Cross plans to stick out. Other agencies, including the federal government, announced their efforts to stay until the very end as well.

"Our hearts are with Floridians as they endeavor on this long and difficult recovery, and our resolve has never been stronger together. We will rebuild from this tragedy and we will be there until the work is done," said Anne Bink, FEMA Assistant Administrator.

Starting Saturday, Hodge said the volunteers will be heading to Orlando to help with sheltering in that area.

The organization encourages people who are not impacted by the hurricane to donate to the Red Cross through this link.