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Hopewell grandmother flying to Florida to help Hurricane Matthew victims

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HOPEWELL, Va. -- Debbie Hoffman chose to brave the elements and travel south to a state that’s seen historic devastation within several days.

The Hopewell grandmother boarded a plane Saturday afternoon and flew to Orlando, Florida to join a group of Red Cross volunteers deployed to help Hurricane Matthew victims.

On Friday night, nearly 6,000 people woke up in more than 70 evacuation shelters in Florida. The victims may return to homes and neighborhoods destroyed by the high winds and water, but some will be welcomed by Hoffman in a truck.


“I’ll be driving a feeding truck, going neighborhood to neighborhood, and looking for people without electricity,” she said.

Hoffman is a retired Capital One customer representative and this trip will mark her fourth deployment with the Red Cross in just five months. She last fed flood victims in Louisiana.

“It surprises me every time I go,” Hoffman told CBS 6’s Brendan King before her flight. “It makes me want to go back.”

She will work 15 hour days and will be deployed for about three weeks. Hoffman won’t receive a paycheck for her hardwork, but said she’ll be rewarded with a good feeling.


“The clients are all so grateful every time I go there,” she said. “Even though they lost everything, they’re so happy to see you.”

There are more than 2,200 trained disaster workers deployed in the south during the storm to help, and about a dozen from the Virginia region.

The Red Cross depends on donations to provide immediate relief. Help people affected by Hurricane Matthew by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word MATTHEW to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from this disaster.

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