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Published: Friday, 9/17/2004

Red Cross asks aid for victims of hurricanes


Exhaustion, stress, tears.

Beth Leggett of Ottawa County has seen them all since arriving in Florida Sept. 7.

Ms. Leggett, a Red Cross volunteer, said that with three hurricanes hitting various parts of Florida and possibly a fourth on the way, Floridians "have been stretched to the limit."

Thousands have approached Red Cross volunteers like her over the last two weeks looking for help. Though some parts of Florida have been spared, many areas are still without power and the damage is extensive, she said by cell phone yesterday.

"There are people who have lost their jobs, lost their home, and are dealing with lots of different issues. It's just very frustrating for them," said Ms. Leggett, who is director of the Ottawa County office of the Greater Toledo Area Chapter of the American Red Cross.

She's one of seven local Red Cross volunteers in Florida. Help is still needed:

●ISOH/IMPACT, a Waterville-based relief organization, has been collecting and shipping donated supplies to the Florida area. The agency has 15 locations throughout northwest Ohio where supplies can be dropped off. Call 419- 878-8548.

●Red Cross officials say financial donations are the best way the public can help their organization pay for supplies and volunteers in the Florida area.

To donate to the Red Cross, call 800-HELP-NOW, or locally at 419- 329-2900. Donations also can be made online at www.redcross.org.

●The Red Cross is asking blood donors to donate to make up for shortages in the Southeast.

Blood donated elsewhere in the country can be diverted to areas in short supply. The main donor center at 3510 Executive Pkwy. in West Toledo is open from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. today and 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. tomorrow. Details of other sites and times is available at 800-GIVE-LIFE or 419- 539-1009.

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