Tuesday, May 17, 2022

In Case You Missed It

Nearly 100 volunteers gathered in Riverhead to install free smoke alarms throughout Suffolk County.

Over the last seven days, the Greater New York Red Cross has provided emergency assistance to 162 adults and 49 children following 59 local disaster responses. Here are some highlights from last week and a preview of upcoming activities. (See below)

Last Week in Review
Upcoming Events and Activities

Monday, May 9, 2022

In Case You Missed It

Red Cross volunteers during the Sound the Alarm fire safety event in Spring Valley. (Photo: Kevin Suttlehan)

Over the last seven days, the Greater New York Red Cross has provided emergency assistance to 225 adults and 71 children following 52 local disaster responses. Here are some highlights from last week and a preview of upcoming activities. (See below

Last Week in Review 
  • Last Wednesday, our preparedness team colleague Bridgette Espinoza talked with Telemundo 47 about how to make sure your family is prepared to evacuate or take shelter if a storm threatens your community during hurricane season. 
Upcoming Events and Activities
  • May 19: Join us for a Volunteer Info Session to learn about our many volunteer opportunities and how you can apply. 

Monday, May 2, 2022

In Case You Missed It

The Red Cross welcoming our partners from NYC Emergency Management.

Over the last seven days, the Greater New York Red Cross has provided emergency assistance to 165 adults and 60 children following 59 local disaster responses. Here are some highlights from last week and a preview of upcoming activities. (See below

Last Week in Review
  • On Sunday, the Red Cross assisted residents displaced by a five-alarm fire at Chatham & Mott Streets in Chinatown. NY Daily News and NY1 reported on the fire. 
  • For the final week of the Month of the Military Child, we featured two volunteers who give their time to help military families cope with the challenges of service by leading Resiliency Workshops at military installations all over the world. 
  • Last week, we welcomed our partners at NYC Emergency Management to the Greater NY Red Cross headquarters in Hell’s Kitchen for a visit of our facilities. 
  • Earlier in the week, we shared the story of Alexander Barrow, a recent blood donor who gave for the first time in 20 years. 
  • Red Cross volunteer Linda Latona also offered insight on her work following Hurricane Ida, home fires, and other disasters, in another “Three Questions” blog post
Upcoming Events and Activities
  • May 19: Join us for a Volunteer Info Session to learn about our many volunteer opportunities and how you can apply. 

Monday, April 25, 2022

In Case You Missed It

All of our honorees at the Red & White Ball: A Salute to Service and Valor.
Over the last seven days, the Greater New York Red Cross has provided emergency assistance to 177 adults and 47 children following 62 local disaster responses. Here are some highlights from last week and a preview of upcoming activities. (See below)

Last Week in Review
  • We could not have been prouder to see our friend and volunteer Magnolia Chiri featured by Newsday for National Volunteer Week last Friday. 

Upcoming Events and Activities

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

“Three Questions” with Prince Thomas

Interviewed by Catherine Hegeman, American Red Cross in Greater NY

"Three Questions” is an American Red Cross in Greater New York blog series featuring staff, volunteers, and partners who help carry out our humanitarian mission. Through these short interviews, we hope to shine a light on our different programs and get to know those who make this work possible.


Prince Thomas feels a responsibility to help his community in times of need. This is what inspired him to start his journey as a volunteer with the American Red Cross. Prince, a resident of New Rochelle in Westchester County, joined the Metro NY North Chapter Disaster Action Team (DAT) in December of 2019. In addition to helping residents after local disasters through the Red Cross, Prince, a father of two young children, is also a volunteer firefighter in Scarsdale.

Why did you initially start volunteering as a firefighter and how did that lead you to the Red Cross?

One reason was that I wanted to do something steady in the community. Something that wasn’t just volunteering at a soup kitchen or at a food pantry here and there. I wanted something longer-term that I could do. And also, at that time, I had a federal job, so I had racked up a ton of vacation time. I had the time to go to the fire academy.

I've been a volunteer firefighter for about 10 years. [As firefighters] we go put the fire down and go home. I always wondered what happened after that, you know, what happens to the families after the fire. I remember one time at an incident…seeing the Red Cross people there. Then I was like, “Oh, what do they do?” Because in my mind the picture I had of the Red Cross at a fire was someone putting a blanket around you and giving you hot cocoa. I just thought that's what they did. I didn't know the other stuff they did as far as temporary housing and providing money and mental health services. And then I was like, “I didn't know that existed.” It was cool to see a fire full circle. There is a phrase we use at the fire department: if you see me as a firefighter, it’s probably the worst day of your life. But that's also true with the Red Cross. It's not under great circumstances. But hopefully we [Red Cross volunteers] could help you make it better.

What is the most meaningful part of volunteering for the Red Cross?

The most meaningful part of the job is connecting with people. After a fire, at the Red Cross, we’re talking to affected individuals, and half the time they’re still in shock...Half the time they’re just like “What’s going on?” They can’t process it. But I think also, it’s nice for them to be like “Oh, these people are here to help me.” It’s just that human touch for them that's a big thing.

And it's the little things. Going to a fire as a firefighter, I remember my instructor always told me, I should keep some Hot Wheels in my fire bag. If there were kids at a fore, I could give them out. I try to do the same for the Red Cross. We have Mickey Mouses that we give out, but I’ll also keep little fidget spinners and little coloring books with me… I keep that in my Red Cross responder bag and I feel like that has been helpful because these kids don’t know what's going on. Usually, they want me to explain to them what's going on because their parents are just rushing back and forth and figuring things out about their situation. A sense of calm is always big for them.

Prince (left) and a fellow Red Cross volunteer
Prince (left) and a fellow Red Cross volunteer

What does the Red Cross mean to you, particularly as a father?

It has grounded me a lot. It’s given me a sense of purpose. It’s given me an appreciation for what I have. It also made me feel much more in tune with my community. And you meet a lot of cool people. A lot of people from different backgrounds. I’ve met are people who are volunteer EMTs or paramedics. And a few other volunteer firefighters. It’s been cool.

Being a father is so amazing. My kids, the older one especially, when he sees my Red Cross bag, he knows. He says: “Oh, Dad’s gonna go for a fire or something.” It's kind of cool to give him something to be like “when you grow up, you have to give back to your community.”

 

Monday, April 18, 2022

In Case You Missed It


Greater NY Board Chair, John Osborn, with Tracy Morgan and DMC and other
Red Crossers at NY International Auto Show. (Photo: Dan Neiman)

Over the last seven days, the Greater New York Red Cross has provided emergency assistance to 190 adults and 46 children following 53 local disaster responses. Here are some highlights from last week and a preview of upcoming activities. (See below)

Last Week in Review
  • On Friday morning, Patch reported that the Red Cross assisted residents displaced by a fatal fire at 78 Mulberry Street in Chinatown. 
  • Last week, we shared the story of Haley Nivelle, a recent blood donor, who explained why she believes people should consider donating.
Upcoming Events and Activities
  • Apr 19: Join us for a Volunteer Info Session to learn about our many volunteer opportunities and how you can apply. 
  • Apr 23: Join the Red Cross at the Red & White Ball, A Salute to Service and Valor. We are honoring General Mark A. Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Mrs. Hollyanne Milley for their lifetime of service; humanitarians Colleen and Philip Hempleman; and corporate leaders Carlson & Carlson. 

Thursday, April 14, 2022

“Three Questions” with Linda Latona

Interviewed by Catherine Hegeman, American Red Cross in Greater NY

"Three Questions” is an American Red Cross in Greater New York blog series featuring staff, volunteers, and partners who help carry out our humanitarian mission. Through these short interviews, we hope to shine a light on our different programs and get to know those who make this work possible.


Linda Latona, a social worker from Mamaroneck, New York, has been a volunteer with the American Red Cross Metro NY North Chapter since 2016. She initially joined the Red Cross as a way to support her community and offer relief in times of disaster. In her roles as a Disaster Action Team member and a Disaster Mental Health volunteer, Linda offers her experience and compassion following emergencies large and small.

What is it like being called to a disaster when you are on-call in the middle of the night?

Being woken up to go out and be there for someone, during their worst moment, just to be present and compassionate and to give them a little bit of comfort, it means a lot to me.

When we go on a DAT call, we give a little bit of money, enough to get through a few days. We give clients a safe place to sleep, some food to eat, a chance to just replenish and catch their breath as they move to their next steps to recovery.

I lose some sleep, but I can catch up on my sleep.

What is your most memorable disaster response with the Red Cross?

I would say that would be the overnight Ida shelter. We set up a shelter at Mamaroneck High School. 

The police and the rescuers brought in evacuees, who had been rescued by boats. Some of these people were pulled through windows, some were floating in their cars and others hanging off of stop signs and trees. They were being swept away by the flood currents. We were initially anticipating about 30 people. Ultimately 150 came. They just kept coming. And they kept coming with stories of more and more traumatic, life-threatening rescues.

I checked in with each and every one of them.

Why do you feel compelled to continue your volunteer work with the Red Cross?

It works for me. I can give as much or as little as I can. When there is a need and I can help, I serve. And I serve with people who inspire me to keep serving. If I can do anything to provide comfort to someone experiencing a disaster, in the worst moment of their life, with co-volunteers that I admire, then that makes sense to keep volunteering.