Even as the race for the White House gears up, Democratic nominee Barack Obama and Republican presidential pick John McCain have shifted focus from campaigning to providing relief for the victims of Hurricane Gustav.

The Republicans stepped into the spotlight as their convention kicked off today, and their focus was decidedly on Gustav. The convention was less than 15 minutes old when Mike Duncan, chairman of the Republican National Committee, asked delegates to use their cell phones to text a five-digit code that would make a donation to the Red Cross for victims of the hurricane.

The campaign of Democratic nominee Barack Obama asked its supporters to do the same.

First Lady Laura Bush and Cindy McCain scraped their political scripts and instead appealed to GOP faithful at the St. Paul, Minn. convention to donate time and money to those caught in Hurricane Gustav.

"This is a time when we take off our Republican hats and put on our American hats," McCain said.

Added the first lady: "Our first priority for today and in the coming days is to ensure the safety and well-being of those living in the Gulf Coast region."

To make a donation to the hurricane relief effort, visit Barack Obama's or John McCain's campaign sites. Both candidates have extensive lists of relief organizations servicing communities across the Gulf Coast.