Tampa, Florida - More than 400 American Red Cross volunteers from across several states have descended on central Florida. The path of destruction spans four counties - thousands of lives to re-build, thousands of victims to help, folks like Katie Brenson.
"I thought I was in Iraq. This is a war zone. That's what this is, a war zone." Brenson said.
The Tampa Bay chapter of the American Red Cross has sent six volunteers with its emergency response vehicle to the heart of the destruction.
"Our volunteers have amazing personalities. They have incredible empathy.” said Doug Douglass, manager of Planning and Preparedness for Disaster Relief with the American Red Cross.
The truck comes equipped with more than 3,000 snacks. The Tampa Bay volunteers will use this as their staging area for the next three weeks, providing food, assistance, and comfort during this trying time.
"All the things you look for that identify your community are gone." Douglass said.
Katie Brenson was lucky. Her house was spared, but all her trees and landscaping was destroyed. Still the reality of the situation is almost too much to bear.
"I just don't know how I will deal I mean I am 80 years old. This is more than I…I just can't face it all right now." She said.
But Katie doesn't have to do it alone. And Douglass says there is no shortage of support from the bay area
And the best way, he says, you can help, is by donating money which helps the victims address their specific needs immediately.
If you want to send a donation directly over the internet, click here.
If you want to send a check, be sure to write “disaster relief” in the memo to ensure the money will be used to help the tornado victims in Central Florida.
Tampa Bay Chapter
3310 West Main Street
Tampa, Florida 33607-4221
Alexandra Hackett, Tampa Bay's 10 News