West Michigan volunteers head south to help with Ida relief

Weather News

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — An American Red Cross volunteer from West Michigan will be among the first people on the ground helping to coordinate the Hurricane Ida relief effort.

Karen Neeb, a logistics warehouse supervisor, is on her way to Texas, where she will prepare to deploy to Louisiana.

“The headquarters is in Baton Rouge and so I’ll run the warehouse in Baton Rouge,” Neeb said, speaking with News 8 via video chat before her flight.

Neeb will play a crucial role moving essential supplies throughout the region.

“To the people that are still in their homes, we provide them with the comfort kits and water and food,” she explained.

She has deployed to hurricane disaster zones before and knows the impact the Red Cross can make. On her first assignment, she was able to see it firsthand when driving a box truck and delivering supplies.

“Just being able to give them assistance because they weren’t asking for it, they weren’t looking for it, we just showed up with a truck, was very rewarding. It was very heartwarming and humbling,” Neeb said. 

The work requires long days but Neeb says it is all worth it to make a difference in so many lives.

“Usually the first two weeks after a storm, we’re working 17- to 18-hour days,” she said.

In addition to cleaning up the damage itself, power outages on the ground are expected to linger and some supplies are already hard to come by.

“Before the storm, they were trying to stock up on snacks and the shelves were empty already so we’re going to be playing some catch-up this week,” Neeb said.

The Salvation Army in Grand Rapids is closely monitoring the situation and could send West Michigan volunteers as well if additional support is needed.

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