Six local Red Cross volunteers provide Tropical Storm Florence disaster relief

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- As Tropical Storm Florence pummels the Carolinas, about 2,000 Red Cross disaster workers from all over the country have been deployed to help shelter, feed and support those affected.

Six volunteers from the local Red Cross chapter left Tuesday to drive into the storm with an emergency response vehicle to provide safe shelter and comfort for evacuees across six states.

Florence is leaving hundreds of thousands without power. More than 20,000 people stayed in 200 Red Cross and community shelters Thursday night to escape the storm's wrath. The Red Cross is deploying about 100 emergency response vehicles and more than 120 trailers of equipment filled with supplies, including 100,000 ready-to-eat-meals, and enough cots and blankets for more than 42,000 people.

"It's somewhat self-fulfilling going out and helping people who are in great need. A lot of these people may have lost everything, they lost their homes and everything. It's hard to tell what these people are going through so it's just nice being able to go out and give a helping hand to people who are in need," said Mike O’Brien, a volunteer for the American Red Cross.

140 blood drives have been canceled in the southeast due to Tropical Storm Florence, so eligible donors here in the stateline are urged to donate to help maintain the nation's blood supply.

The Red Cross says the best gift we can give to those affected is money because there's no room to transport other donations at this time. To make a financial donation you can visit call 1-800-RED CROSS or text the word FLORENCE to 90999.