Metro volunteers at the ready for relief efforts as Hurricane Dorian stalks Florida

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City metro is roughly 1,500 miles from South Florida.

That won't stop relief agencies from the metro from sending help in case Hurricane Dorian's impact is strong.

It takes a lot of preparation and a giving spirit to boot. The American Red Cross division in Kansas City has a deployment of equipment headed for Florida. Patty Paterson and her husband, Steve, said they're waiting by the phone, awaiting the spur-of-the-moment call to contend with the destruction Dorian might deliver.

"You're mentally preparing yourself," Patterson smiled.

Patterson should know. The retired restaurant worker said she's giving her efforts to help Floridians, who may feel Dorian's destructive force by Tuesday. It will be the tenth time the grandmother has been deployed by the American Red Cross.

"You just go with the mindset that you're there to lift people up and treat them as your family. If it was in your backyard, you'd want someone to be there to help you," Patterson explained.

Patty said she and Steve will drive one of the American Red Cross' Kansas City based emergency response vans south. The Red Cross is sending 20 of them from Kansas City to hurricane country, where they'll be used for everything from distributing supplies to serving meals.

"You could see them there with nothing, and yet, they're there helping their neighbor," Patterson said.

Metro Red Cross leaders said missions of mercy like this one wouldn't exist without volunteers. Angie Springs, the relief agency's local spokesperson, told FOX4 News there's a stronger influx of new volunteers, who've come calling after seeing media coverage of extreme weather events. Springs said the uncertainties are tough for volunteers. Giving people like Patterson are deployed, not knowing what damage a weather event might inflict. They, like everyone else, hope Dorian turns into a much smaller storm.

"We're preparing, and we're getting ready and putting people as close to the area as possible -- so we'll be able to come in and provide help and hope," Springs said.

American Red Cross leaders said there are multiple ways you can send support to people in harm's way. You can find those ideas by visiting the American Red Cross website.

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