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LA Red Cross volunteers head east to help Hurricane Matthew relief

File: A volunteer with the American Red Cross loads a sifter onto a truck at the temporary shelter set up in the Hart High School in Santa Clarita on July 29th 2016.
File: A volunteer with the American Red Cross loads a sifter onto a truck at the temporary shelter set up in the Hart High School in Santa Clarita on July 29th 2016.
Dan Tuffs for KPCC

Ten volunteers from the Los Angeles chapter of the Red Cross are heading east to help with relief efforts from Hurricane Matthew.

Their main goal will be to feed people, Jarrett Barrios, CEO of the American Red Cross Los Angeles tells KPCC.  

"As people leave those shelters and go back their communities we're going to need to be feeding them, because many of them aren't going to have the means to feed themselves," he says. 

Thousands of people are still staying at Red Cross shelters on the east coast. At the height of the hurricane, more than 30,000 residents from communities along the Gulf Coast stayed in those shelters.

Many of those returning to their homes are finding they lack running water or electricity, Barrios adds. 

Some of those 10 volunteers from L.A. are flying while others are driving trucks across country to deliver food, Barrios says. Once they reach South Carolina, they will be dispersed to various cities including Charleston. 

Hurricane Matthew struck several states including Georgia, Florida and the Carolinas over the weekend. Barrios says more than 100 volunteers from L.A. will be helping in the region by the end of this week. 

"Were the big one to strike here — the big earthquake — we would be relying not just on the Red Cross resources of Los Angeles, which while substantial would in no way be able to meet the needs here of the residents after a great earthquake," he tells KPCC. "We would be relying on others to come and help support us."  

This year marks the L.A. chapter's 100 year anniversary. They most often respond to single-family house fires. Barrios says the non-profit has helped about 3,300 residents of L.A. County who lost their home last year to wildfires. 

He also urges people who want to help to volunteer or donate funds. 

"Maybe you can’t volunteer in time to get out to this disaster, but there’ll be another one," Barrios says.