Panama City- Braving one of Isaac's brief rain showers Monday in Panama City, volunteers from the Islamic Relief U.S.A. Organization helped load supplies onto a Red Cross emergency response vehicle.
The assistance came at a time when emotions are running somewhat high among the local Muslim community. Two weeks ago someone allegedly fire bombed one local Islamic family's home.
I.R.U.S.A.'s Disaster Area Response Team Director Derrick Lea said part of the organization's purpose is to prevent crimes like that from happening.
"We serve a bit of a conduit role, a liason," said Lea.
Monday night in Panama City they held a shelter operations training class. It was an example of what the organization does each time it responds somewhere new.
"The hope is is through the interaction that you'll get to know that person that sits next to you. And whether he's Muslim, or whether he's Catholic, whether he's Jew, whatever he or she is you get to know that person as a person," said Lea.
Central Panhandle Chapter Red Cross Executive Director Bob Pearce said I.R.U.S.A.'s presence in the local community this week is certainly a welcomed sight.
"I'm just thrilled with the idea that we would bring them into closer partnership and have volunteers from that community too," said Pearce.
I.R.U.S.A. said it may head to the New Orleans area as soon as Tuesday if conditions are worse there.