TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy’s path of destruction, many who were spared are now looking for ways to give back.

The Red Cross has set up shelters, mobile meal distribution centers and other services for those coping with devastation from Sandy.

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WCBS 880’s Jim Smith reports

Thousands of New Jersey residents are still making use of Red Cross shelters across the state.

New Jersey Red Cross officials urged people who want to help out to not drop off goods or other material donations. Officials said they can get hard to handle and wind up actually hampering the delivery of aid.

“When a large amount of supplies comes in, just to sort everything and pull everything apart and try to – you can’t even determine how to divide that fairly,” Red Cross of Northern New Jersey spokesperson Diane Concannon told WCBS 880’s Jim Smith.

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“The best thing to do right now at this stage is to make a financial donation,” Concannon told Smith.

A $10 donation can be made right from your cell phone by texting “Red Cross” to 90999.

Other ways people can help out is by donating blood, because donations have dipped a bit due to Sandy.

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“That donation will help save up to three lives and it will make a tremendous difference,” Anthony Tornetta told Smith. “That will go a long way in replenishing the supply.”

The Red Cross said roughly 300 blood drives were canceled across 13 states on the East Coast in the wake of the storm. Those drives would have collected about 11,000 units of blood, according to the Red Cross.

People are also encouraged to volunteer their time to help with the relief effort. You can get more information on becoming a Red Cross volunteer by calling 1-800-JERSEY-7.

For a guide on how to recover after a disaster, click here.

Search for open shelters by texting: SHELTER and a Zip Code to43362 (4FEMA). Ex: Shelter 01234 (std rates apply) or click here.

For more from the Red Cross or to donate, visit

For local Red Cross chapters, see below:

New York

New Jersey

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