Iowans with Red Cross respond to flood-ravaged eastern states

47 volunteers have been deployed to North Carolina

Iowans working with the American Red Cross are on the ground out east to help the people who are affected by Hurricane Florence.

Nicole Breitbach, executive director of the American Red Cross in northeast Iowa, said there are 47 Iowans who have been deployed to help out in North Carolina.

But she said the number of volunteers is changing every day.

“We expect that to keep going up,” Breitbach said. “We’ve also sent all five of our emergency response vehicles from the state. Those all went over to the East Coast to help with feeding and stuff as needed.”

One of those volunteers is Peggy Jordan, who will be deploying today.

Jordan, of Webster City, has been a Red Cross volunteer since 2014 This will be her fourth national deployment, according to Breitbach.

Most volunteers from Iowa have been sent to help throughout North Carolina.

“Last week, when we sent the volunteers, we sent everyone prelandfall of the hurricane,” she said. “They went to Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina because we wanted to be ready up and down the coast.”

With the storm now passed, Breitbach said sheltering is the biggest priority of the volunteers on the ground.

“Shelter, food and offering comfort as needed to anyone that’s impacted right now,” she said.

The Red Cross has asked volunteers to commit to being out east for three weeks.

“As volunteers come back, we’ll be sending more volunteers,” she said. “The operation will change over time.”

The volunteers for the Red Cross are on-call, and while there are nearly 50 in North Carolina, Breitbach said there are also volunteers still in Iowa.

“One thing we’re always doing when there’s not a natural disaster is still responding to fires throughout the state,” she said.

Volunteers can participate in training sessions offered by the Red Cross, and those volunteers are the ones that are able to be deployed to different disasters or emergencies.

And if people still want to help those impacted by Hurricane Florence, but can’t physically go down to the Carolinas, Breitbach said there’s plenty that they can do.

“Our biggest thing we ask for are financial donations,” she said. “That allows us to put the money where it’s needed most.”

Donations can be made online at or by texting “Florence” to 90999, which Breitbach said makes a $10 donation.

“Or they can mail a check to one of the Red Cross offices as well,” she said.

Blood donations are also critical during this time. This is because, according to Breitbach, the Red Cross has to cancel blood drives in the areas affected by the hurricanes.

“We like to make it up throughout the rest of the U.S.,” she said.

Those wanting to donate can visit to find the nearest blood drive.