Local volunteers to aid in Sandy relief

KANSAS CITY - The local American Red Cross chapter spent Monday afternoon recruiting volunteers to help in superstorm Sandy relief efforts.

Volunteer coordinator JoAnn Woody said volunteers are typically sent based on availability, but for the first time since Hurricane Katrina, the Red Cross was proactively calling volunteers to request their assistance.

"We want to be able to get them out the door as quickly as possible," Woody said.

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On the receiving end of one of those phone calls was Jenny Schad, who agreed to head to the Northeast as soon as the airports opened.

Schad volunteered during Hurricane Isaac, but said this operation will be much more challenging because of the risk of snow and widespread power outages.

"I'm anticipating a lot of stuff I've never encountered before, which I'm really exciting about, but I'm also really nervous," she said.

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Schad works full time but has coordinated with her employer to let her have the time off so she can stay in the Northeast for 10 days. 

She'll be working long hours in high winds and heavy rain and possibly snow, and while most are evacuating the area, Schad isn't hesitating to respond.

"It's a little intense sometimes, but it's incredibly rewarding," Schad said.  "You just see that look in their eye that 'Thank God someone was there to help me.'"

Schad and a few other local volunteers will likely leave later this week when the airports in the Northeast reopen.

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