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The American Red Cross is asking those interested in helping victims of Hurricane Sandy to contribute financially.

People, schools and businesses around the Buffalo area have been calling the Western New York Region of the Red Cross with interest in donating food and clothing to the downstate relief efforts, but logistically that tends to be more costly, officials said.

“The cost to sort and package the donated items is usually greater than the cost of purchasing the items locally,” said Jay Bonafede, communications coordinator for the Western New York Region. “It’s easier and more efficient for us to use the financial donations.”

“We just encourage everyone to make a financial donation,” Bonafede said. “This is going to be a long and costly response.”

People can donate by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS or by going to www.redcross.org. You can also text REDCROSS to 90999 to give $10 to disaster relief.

Also, the local chapter may be conducting disaster training courses as early as next week for those interested in volunteering downstate or during future relief efforts, Bonafede said.

Call the volunteer coordinator at 886-7500 for more information.

Meanwhile, people from Buffalo continue to make their way to the storm-damaged areas, including a group from the University at Buffalo School of Nursing.

Joann M. Sands, a clinical instructor of nursing at UB, traveled with seven nursing students to Long Island to help care for people who have conditions serious enough to go to an emergency room but not ill enough to be admitted to a hospital.

The UB students were stationed in a skilled nursing facility to take the overflow from local emergency rooms.

email: jrey@buffnews.com