Tuesday, June 2, 2020

In Case You Missed It - June 2

DJ David Guetta and NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray came out to support NYC Healthcare Heroes at Harlem Hospital.
Over the last seven days, the Greater New York Red Cross provided emergency assistance to 62 adults and 17 children following 33 local disasters. Here are some highlights from last week and a preview of upcoming activities. (See below)


Last Week In Review

Upcoming Events and Activities

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Red Cross Brings Community Together To Help Long Island Resident Recover From Home Fire Amid COVID-19

Celia Vollmer (L) and Edras Hidalgo (R)
It’s an uncertain time. In addition to the daily doubts caused by the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, Josselyn experienced another emergency: a fire that has destroyed her home and injured her body.

Just eight months after she moved to New York and rented a tiny basement apartment with her son, the lamp near her suddenly caught on fire when she was sleeping. Josselyn tried to quell the fire by pouring as much water as possible on it. Although she managed to get the fire under control, all of her belongings were destroyed by smoke and water, and her right hand and right foot were burned in the process.

Josselyn doesn’t speak English, has no family in New York and was struggling financially, as she is out of work due to the pandemic. She was unsure where to seek assistance from her community because of the language barrier. At the advice of one of her neighbors, she called the American Red Cross on Long Island and explained her situation and fear to her caseworker, Edras Hidalgo, over the phone.

“It was hard to believe the whole picture and the kind of hardship that she and her son have gone through,” recalled Edras.

“I don’t know,” said Josselyn in Spanish. “I have no relatives [in New York]. I have nobody. I don’t know the area. I don’t have food for my son. Red Cross is the only source that I think somebody can help me.”

After hearing Josselyn’s situation, Edras was moved to action. “I kept asking myself: what would I do when this happened to my relative or my sister,” said Edras. He understood Josselyn needed more than just money. “When she said that she didn’t have food for her son, I knew how bad the situation was and what kind of hardships she has gone through.” After calming her down over the phone, Edras promptly called Celia Vollmer, the Disaster Action Team Captain, to find possible ways that the Red Cross can help Josselyn with its network.

Working together, Celia and Edras were able to connect Josselyn with Red Cross resources as well as partner resources to assist her with her recovery. For example, the Red Cross’ Disaster Health Services (DHS) Team provided Josselyn financial assistance to purchase medication and bandaging supplies for her injuries. A local school in the district was able to provide her son a tablet and some school supplies. The Cental Islip Civic Association offered food, and the local police department provided new furniture for the family. A few local police officers even provided her gift cards paid out of their own pockets.

“One of the cops was attempting to give her son an air hug because he had to follow the social distancing protocol,” Edras said, recalling the special way to spread love and warmth during this tough time.

To ensure everyone’s health and safety, each step of the way, this aid was coordinated via the phone, to maintain social distancing guidelines. Throughout the process, Edras served as both caseworker and as a translator for Josselyn.

“They see me as the Red Cross and as a part of the community. This is what links us to provide help and support altogether,” Edras said proudly. “It is rewarding to be Josselyn’s caseworker and to empower her and guide her through the recovery.”

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

In Case You Missed It - May 26

Red Cross and the Town of Hempstead working together to distribute masks to at-risk populations.
(Photo: Lori-Ann Pizzarelli)
Over the last seven days, the Greater New York Red Cross provided emergency assistance to 52 adults and 31 children following 33 local disasters. Here are some highlights from last week and a preview of upcoming activities. (See below)

Last Week in Review

Upcoming Events and Opportunities

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

With Graduation Approaching, Red Cross Club Leaders Adapt to COVID-19

By Chris Pyo, American Red Cross in Greater New York 


When Mahita Bandlamudi and Courtney Chambers first arrived at Hunter College in 2016, they had no idea how intertwined their college experiences would turn out to be.

Both were Human Biology majors with pre-med aspirations. Both were also intrigued at the prospect of giving back to their communities and began to look for opportunities to do so early in their freshmen years.

Now, as they prepare to graduate, they’re concluding their one-year tenures as co-presidents of the Hunter College Red Cross Club, which has blossomed into one of Hunter’s largest student organizations in the past couple of years. 

“I was actually in a Red Cross club at Bayside High School, and I joined that when I was 14 or 15,” said Bandlamudi. “I stayed active throughout my high school career in that club and got to serve as president, and then I came to Hunter and joined as well. I’ve basically been a part of the Red Cross for almost seven years now.”

On the other hand, Chambers came to the United States from Jamaica when he was 15, and while he didn’t have a Red Cross club to join in high school, he was introduced to community service through local organizations. When he entered Hunter, he instantly knew that he wanted to be involved with the club.

“I actually joined the club three days into college, and since then, I’ve been so motivated!” said Chambers. “In September of 2016, I was named the “Head Volunteer of the Month,” and from there, I motivated myself to work my way up.”

Both students have dedicated themselves to making the Hunter Red Cross club as engaging as possible. This year, there was an emphasis on participating in new Red Cross programs, such as the Home Fire Campaign and the Missing Maps program.

“In January, we had 60 volunteers spend time around the boroughs installing smoke alarms. “That day we installed over 300 of them” said Chambers. 


Both Bandlamudi and Chambers give a lot of credit to their executive board and Red Cross staff members for helping facilitate events and experiences for club members.

“The board is made up of 21 club members who show a lot of dedication and effort towards the club over time, and none of this would be possible without them” said Bandlamudi.

“We’re also truly thankful for the [Red Cross] staff members. They make time for us and help guide us through this entire process,” said Chambers.

Unfortunately, with the emergence of COVID-19, Mahita and Chambers have been forced to wrap up their academic years at home. Nonetheless, they have adjusted accordingly, ensuring that members still have opportunities to perform volunteer work.

“For the most part, we have canceled all in-person events,” said Chambers. “However, we have a few volunteers who participate in the Food Distribution project with the chapter; otherwise, we’ve been engaging with other online projects like Missing Maps.”

Aside from their work with the Red Cross, both students also have their post-graduation plans in their thoughts. Before the outbreak, Chambers was planning on doing either EMT or clinical research, while Bandlamudi was looking to work as a clinical research coordinator or at a primary care office. Now, they head into the future with a bit of uncertainty, as every college graduate seemingly will. However, there is no doubt that both of them will succeed at whatever they choose to pursue.

Although Bandlamudi and Chambers will not have the chance to walk across a physical graduation stage, they’ve certainly earned a massive round of applause from the Red Cross. Through their unwavering commitment to the Red Cross over the past four years, both students have displayed their love for making a positive impact on everyone around them, and they’ll continue to do so for the rest of their lives.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

In Case You Missed It - May 19

Red Cross Volunteers continue to support communities in need during pandemic. (Photo: Kevin Suttlehan)
Over the last seven days, the Greater New York Red Cross provided emergency assistance to 19 adults and 7 children following 33 local disasters. Here are some highlights from last week and a preview of upcoming activities. (See below)

Last Week in Review

Upcoming Events and Opportunities 


Wednesday, May 13, 2020

In Case You Missed It - May 13

Red Crossers working with JASA to distribute frozen meals to seniors. (Photo: Gary Chin)
Over the last seven days, the Greater New York Red Cross provided emergency assistance to 102 adults and 23 children following 32 local disasters. Here are some highlights from last week and a preview of upcoming activities. (See below)

Last Week in Review

Upcoming Events and Opportunities

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

In Case You Missed It - May 5

This small but mighty team broke a record today, handing out 900
NYC Health Heroes totes at Jamaica Hospital in 45 minutes.
Over the last seven days, the Greater New York Red Cross provided emergency assistance to 30 adults and 10 children following 26  local disasters. Here are some highlights from last week and a preview of upcoming activities.  (See below)

Last Week in Review

Upcoming Events and Opportunities