Frances is no more, but the former hurricane took lives and left behind plenty of damage in both Florida and Georgia; so far 18 dead, three million still without power and an estimated four to eight billion in losses in Florida alone. It's going to require a heroic relief effort.
Volunteers are taking a flood of calls from all over the country with people asking how they can help victims of Hurricane Frances.
The 1-800-FL-HELP-1 Hotline was set up by the group Volunteer Florida after Hurricane Charley. Volunteers take financial donations and match offers of labor and supplies with people in need.
Sarah Houston says it gives her a good feeling to know she can put stressed-out storm victims in touch with folks who can help.
Sara says, “We have families with no food, we have elderly that have roofs off their homes and they have no recourse, so we’re providing the information for them.”
Volunteering is not just for grownups. There are lots of things children and teenagers can do to help the storm victims. Coordinator Wendy Spencer suggests logging on to www.volunteerflorida.org to see what’s needed and organizing a food or supply drive.
Wendy says, “Baby items, baby diapers and baby food are needed; cleaning supplies, sponges, buckets, personal hygiene items are needed. A nationwide appeal by state officials is also hitting the airwaves to keep the donations coming between Charley and now Frances, help will be needed here for months.”
If you'd like to volunteer in the wake of Frances or donate money or supplies, call 1-800-FL-HELP-1. President Bush is expected to tour hard hit areas Wednesday. He'll ask Congress for $2 billion in federal aid.