Eastern Iowa helps with Hurricane Sandy recovery - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Eastern Iowa helps with Hurricane Sandy recovery

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -

Members of Helping Hands AVP have been on standby since the Hurricane Sandy began.

Saturday, the Cedar Rapids based group got the call that more help is needed.

9 volunteers will go to New Jersey Tuesday.

"We're ready," said Eric Hansen, Administrator/CEO.  "We're ready for anything and everything."

They'll be providing medical assistance, serving as security, and cleaning up debris.

Helping Hands is experienced with disaster relief. They lent a hand in Kentucky earlier this year following the tornadoes there and they were on the scene in Cedar Rapids during the floods of 2008.

The all-volunteer organization was new then, and they too lost everything in the floods.

The help they received then inspires them to help others now.

"If it wasn't for the community's support we wouldn't be able to do what we do," said Hansen.  "It's a way to pay it forward."

Previous disaster relief experience is something the American Red Cross looks for when they're deploying people.

So far 46 Iowans have headed east with the organization to help, including Nick Jost.

"This is something that nobody's seen before," said Jost, Regional Response Director.  "This type of damage in a highly populated area."

Jost says the best thing people can do to help Red Cross efforts right now is donate money.

Helping Hands will be asking for people to donate supplies in a few weeks.

They will spend two weeks in New Jersey, return to Iowa for a week to collect supplies, then head back east.

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