130 Wisconsinites helping with Harvey relief, Irma preparations

Posted at 6:45 PM, Sep 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-07 19:45:58-04

Dozens of Wisconsinites are already in Florida to help with hurricane relief through the American Red Cross.

The organization calls it a challenge to deal with two disasters at once. Red Cross Wisconsin chapter leaders are balancing crews between Harvey relief and Irma preparations. Red Cross Regional CEO Patty Flowers is in Beaumont, Texas overseeing more than a hundred Wisconsinites who are helping people evacuate, find shelter and food for the past two weeks.

"We just served our one-millionth meal in this area," she said.

Harvey's aftermath leaves $180 billion in damage and 70 people dead.

"We just don't want to see that from Irma," said Flowers.

While Florida braces for Irma’s impact, Flowers urges people along the state’s eastern coast not to make a potentially tragic mistake.

"Get out if you're in the path, don't stay," she said.

The Category 5 storm is pummeling the Caribbean islands and Floridians are bracing for landfall Saturday night. 27 Red Cross volunteers from Wisconsin are based in Orlando to help residents prepare.

"We're getting ready to be opening some evacuation shelters in Florida where we're expecting the impact to happen," said Red Cross manager Nicole Gulatz,

UW-Milwaukee student Kyle Pallo is also in Orlando for a Disney World internship. He's seen the relief efforts amp up.

"They were walking around, they had about 50 sandbags," said Pallo.

The Red Cross says if you want to help, the best thing you can do is make a financial donation. For a link click here.