By Cristina Mendez

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Three Marylanders are on their way to Kentucky to help with relief efforts following a string of deadly tornadoes over the weekend.

A total of 16 volunteers with the American Red Cross National Capital and Greater Chesapeake Region are being deployed to the Kentucky Dam Village State Park, which is just half an hour from Mayfield, one of the hardest-hit areas in the state.

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Ashley Henyan, communications director for the nonprofit, has been involved with relief efforts during previous disasters. She said it’s an experience that can only be described as surreal.

“It is just very had to see and process, then know that there’s a real family–a mother, a father, children, pets–behind those destroyed homes,” Henyan said.

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Four teams of two are bringing emergency response vehicles to the tornado-stricken state to deliver food, water, cleanup kits and other vital supplies to families in need as they pick up the pieces.

Volunteer deployments typically last 14 days, Henyan said, but more volunteers will arrive to relieve the group and assist families as long as help is needed.

Henyan said the best way for most people to contribute to relief efforts is by donating money or blood. She said blood donations are vital because local groups are unable to do so right now.

“That means that there are units of blood that will be missing to our hospital partners unless people outside the impacted area step up and donate,” Henyan said.

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To learn more about how you can help, visit the Red Cross website.

Cristina Mendez