MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – As people on the East Coast brace for impact, Minnesotans are en route to help them.

A dozen American Red Cross volunteers from the Minnesota region have been deployed, and some have already reached their East Coast destination. Hurricane Florence hasn’t hit yet, but there’s plenty of work ahead for them.

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A long line of cars marks the evacuation of Hatters Island off the coast of North Carolina, where visitors and residents were ordered to leave as Hurricane Florence moves in.

In Alexandria, Virginia, drivers were instead waiting in line for free sandbags. At least 1,200 were given to people who work or live downtown where flooding has already started ahead of the hurricane.

From the Carolinas to Maryland, people are preparing for heavy rainfall and devastating winds. But relief in the form of the American Red Cross will be there, too.

“We hope that (the Red Cross) is a sign of hope and help and recovery on the way,” said Megan Mrozek, disaster officer for the Red Cross’ Minnesota region. She described the deployment effort by the organization as enormous.

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“It’s actually one of the busiest times because not only are we taking care of people who will have damage from this storm, but also people who are able to avoid the damage but just need to evacuate to stay safe during the impact,” she said.

A dozen local volunteers will provide food, water and daily needs in addition to helping set up shelters — and it’s not just happening on the East Coast.

“We’re also deploying people into Puerto Rico to assist down there,” Mrozek said.

It’s only the beginning for volunteers and far from an end that is currently unknown.

Even if you’re not a volunteer, there are ways to help, specifically by donating. That money pays for food, supplies and clean-up kits.

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Donations can be made by clicking here.

Jeff Wagner