SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Seven local members of the American Red Cross have been sent to the East Coast to help in the relief efforts for the victims of Hurricane Sandy, with more on standby and others taking donations here to help with hurricane relief, Red Cross officials said.

Staff and volunteers from the Bay Area, Silicon Valley, and Santa Cruz chapters of the Red Cross have been sent out to the East Coast but many more are waiting for flights to be allowed into the area, Red Cross spokesperson Pooja Prizeei said.

Virginia Hart, a staff member with the Bay Area chapter, flew out to Delaware on Saturday and said the people in the shelters have been in high spirits, and that some were with their pets. aturday and said the people in the shelters have been in high spirits, and that some were with their pets.

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“A woman I met yesterday brought her puppy in with her,” Hart said. “That was one of the lessons learned after Katrina. People didn’t want to leave their pets behind.”

The Red Cross has been working with the SPCA and local animal shelters to help keep the animals safe during the storm.

The organization has set up 112 shelters in nine states expected to be affected by Hurricane Sandy, and 230,000 ready-to-eat meals will be delivered once the storm has passed, Hart said.

More than 3,000 people spent the night in a shelter in Dewes, Del., on Sunday night and Hart expects the numbers to climb in the next couple of days.

Many Red Cross workers remain in standby mode, waiting for the storm to pass so they can step in to help afterward, she said.

Meanwhile, the Red Cross is conducting blood drives in unaffected states as any blood donation services in Hurricane Sandy’s path have been halted by preparations for the storm.

The Red Cross said that 100 blood drive cancellations in 11 East Coast states have resulted in a shortfall of 3,200 blood and platelet donations already.

All blood types are needed, officials said, but especially types O-positive, O-negative, A-negative and B-negative blood.

Upcoming Bay Area blood drives include on Oct. 30 at BrightSource Energy, 1999 Harrison St., Oakland; on Oct. 31 at West Valley College, 14000 Fruitvale Ave., Saratoga; on Nov. 1 at the Oakland State Building, 1515 Clay St., Oakland; on Nov. 1 at the California College of the Arts, 5212 Broadway, Oakland; and on Nov. 1 at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 220 Elk St., Santa Cruz.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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