COLUMBIA — Dave Griffith won't be home for Thanksgiving.
Griffith, the executive director of the Red Cross Heart of Missouri Chapter, traveled Monday to New York to help coordinate relief efforts for those affected by Superstorm Sandy. He said he planned to be in the region for two weeks.
Tuesday morning, Griffith was preparing to board a shuttle that would take him from the Red Cross' Westchester Office in White Plains, N.Y., to Manhattan.
For the first time, Griffith will participate in a relief effort along with other members of the Red Cross. They will take the places of volunteers that have been working in the area for the past two weeks.
At the shelter where Griffith stayed Monday night, there were about 125 new volunteers ready to help in New York and New Jersey, he said.
Griffith said he hopes to gain a front-line perspective on the work Red Cross volunteers perform.
"It's amazing for me to see the dedication of volunteers and the sacrifices they go through," Griffith said. "And they do it all with a smile on their face. It's an honor to serve alongside them."
And although the Heart of Missouri Chapter deals with floods, fires and tornadoes on a regular basis, Griffith said a disaster like Sandy is "almost too much to wrap your arms around."
Griffith said he's received several calls from people in Missouri looking to donate batteries and other items, but the best way for Columbia residents to aid in relief efforts right now is to make a monetary donation to the Red Cross.
"That's the way Missourians are," Griffith said. "They want to know what they can do to help."
Donations can be dropped off at the Columbia Branch Office of the Red Cross, at 1805 W. Worley St. For more information, visit www.redcross.org or call 1-800-733-2767.
Supervising editor is Emilie Stigliani.