Tuesday, October 19, 2021

In Case You Missed It

Listen to our latest podcast episode on Hurricane Maria.

Over the last seven days, the Greater New York Red Cross provided emergency assistance to 85 adults and 32 children following 30 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

Monday, October 11, 2021

In Case You Missed It

Red Cross ERV sighting at Brentwood Library Touch-a-Truck Event.

Over the last seven days, the Greater New York Red Cross provided emergency assistance to 100 adults and 30 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 Activities
  • Oct 19: Preparing with Pedro is a 30- to 45-minute virtual presentation during which students learn about how to stay safe during a locally relevant hazard co-hosted by NY State Assembly Member Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas.
  • Oct 20: Join our Volunteer Info Session to learn about our many volunteer opportunities and how you can apply today.
  • Oct 21: Join us for a virtual preparedness presentation Prepare, Respond, Recover: What to do When Disaster Strikes co-hosted by Congressman Ritchie Torres.
  • Are you ready to turn your compassion into action? As a Disaster Casework volunteer, you will connect directly with people affected by disasters big and small to help take the next steps in their recovery journey. Sign up here.

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

In Case You Missed It

Senator Alexis Weik honored members of the Hispanic community in the
3rd Senate District including Long Island Red Cross volunteer Celia Vollmer.

Over the last seven days, the Greater New York Red Cross provided emergency assistance to 100 adults and 39 children for 33 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

Surveying Ida: on the Street with a Disaster Assessment Team


By Barbara Gaynes, American Red Cross in Greater NY

Matthew Bush stood outside his flood-damaged basement apartment in Mamaroneck, N.Y., surrounded by the few possessions he and his 9-year-old son had managed to salvage. A waterlogged photo album was drying in the sun along with a baseball glove, a metal file cabinet and a soggy baseball-card collection.

“It was wild,” Bush told Red Cross Disaster Assessment volunteer Brian McMullan, describing the night Hurricane Ida struck. “My son jumped out of bed at like 9:30 and said, ‘Dad, there’s water in the house!’”

The Bushes quickly escaped to the home of a neighbor, helpless to stop the 6 feet of water that rushed into their apartment, destroying or displacing most of the belongings collected during the three-plus years they had lived there.

“My son had about 20 fish,” Bush said. “We found one of them in the bedroom. Don’t know where the other 19 are. He was pretty shook by that.”

A decorative candle that had been displayed on a wooden board was found seven houses down the street. But Bush was most heartbroken to see the ashes of his deceased father “floating in the water” after spilling from an urn.

McMullan, a longtime Red Cross volunteer who has assisted victims of several hurricanes, listened sympathetically to Bush and took photos of his home for the damage report he would file. After Bush said that he’d slept in his mother’s car the previous night, McMullan advised him to go to the nearby Service Center for assistance from the Red Cross and other agencies.


For McMullan and his wife Linda, also a volunteer, stories like Bush’s are sadly all too familiar. During nearly two decades of service, the Suffern, N.Y., couple have teamed up to help people in the aftermath of fires, hurricanes (including Houston’s Harvey) and other disasters. The most memorable parts are often the appreciation of the victims.

Speaking of their work during some large disasters, delivering food to affected communities, Linda recalls, “When you do a route for a few days, you end up getting pictures created by the kids: ‘Thank you, Red Cross.’ One woman (in Houston) was so distraught, and she wanted us to pray with her. She gave us a little prayer: ‘Thank God for the Red Cross. Thank God for the people who are helping us.’ Those moments are really touching.”

On this day in Mamaroneck, more than a week post-Ida, the streets were still littered with storm-related debris including a destroyed oil tank, a shattered front door and a mangled drum set. One woman showed Linda three cars in her driveway that had been damaged by floodwater that rose midway up the vehicles’ windows.

This was the fifth straight day the McMullans had spent on the streets of Mamaroneck, Port Chester, N.Y., and Greenwich, Conn., surveying damaged homes and handing out cleanup kits. Yet they showed no signs of fatigue and stopped to spend a few minutes with every resident who approached them.

“People need to tell their stories,” Brian explained.

At the Bush apartment, Brian classified the damage as “Major” and sent a report in through an app on his phone. It was the first step toward getting financial assistance for Bush and his son — which they soon received— and the harried father was grateful.

“I’m exhausted,” Bush said. “I feel like I went to alien land for a week and am now getting back to civilization. I’m so thankful I saw you guys.”


Tuesday, September 28, 2021

In Case You Missed It

Ribbon cutting celebration at the newly renovated Metro NY North HQ. (Photo: Kevin Suttlehan)

Over the last seven days, the Greater New York Red Cross has continued to support communities impacted by Hurricane Ida while providing emergency assistance to individuals affected by other local disasters, mostly home fires.

Here are some highlights from last week and a preview of upcoming activities. (See below)

Last Week in Review

Upcoming Events and Activities


Tuesday, September 21, 2021

In Case You Missed It

The Long Island Red Cross opened a reception center for residents following a fire in Freeport.

Over the last seven days, the Greater New York Red Cross has continued to support communities impacted by Hurricane Ida while providing emergency assistance to individuals affected by other local disasters, mostly home fires.

Here are some highlights from last week and a preview of upcoming activities. (See below)

Last Week in Review

Upcoming Events and Activities

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month


Happy #HispanicHeritageMonth! This month we celebrate the vibrant heritage and significant contributions that Hispanic and Latinx-Americans have made to our country and to the Red Cross. We salute the service of all our Hispanic and Latinx volunteers. 

Some of their stories are featured below:


Dr. Joseph Prewitt Diaz is a pioneer in the field of disaster mental health with decades of international and domestic field experience following disasters. In his time with the American Red Cross he has supported 52 domestic deployments across the US. Internationally, he has worked in 29 different countries with the organization.

Originally from Puerto Rico, Dr. Prewitt Diaz is a highly-accredited educational psychologist with degrees from the University of Puerto Rico, the University of Connecticut, and the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland.


 
 
Since the beginning of the pandemic, there has been an outpouring of interest from residents seeking out new ways to give back to their communities. Vanessa Diez, from Yonkers, N.Y., is a full time student pursuing her master’s in public administration/emergency management and a full time social worker, helping immigrant youth in NYC. She is a remarkable young woman who, despite a busy schedule,  made it a priority to serve through the American Red Cross as a volunteer. She recently joined the Red Cross and just graduated from our Disaster Action Team Academy, a specialized training program for our volunteer leaders. In this conversation, she talked about her passion for helping others and her work with the Red Cross providing assistance to individuals affected by local emergencies during the pandemic.

 

Following a near-fatal car accident, Neale Sanchez’ life changed forever. It inspired him to become a nurse so he could help save lives. Now retired, Sanchez says his life changed again when he joined the Red Cross in summer of 2019.

 

 

Maria Anguiano is a Red Cross volunteer from Queens, N.Y. who has been a very active member of our disaster response team. She originally joined us as a member of MIRA USA, a non-profit organization that promotes the social integration of immigrants in the United States.

 
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“When I was about 10 years old, back in El Salvador, we got hit by the civil war, and we got a bunch of refugees from our own people. My dad was a leader of the church, so he went to the place that took in all the refugees. Since that experience, my heart and my hands were always open for the people who’d really need it. And the Red Cross values of compassion connects strongly with my core values and what my family taught me to do too. My kids are learning there is this other way to live, to be open to help other people without expecting anything in return because you do it with your heart. Sometimes they say, ‘Dad, you’re tired, you came from work, and now you’re going to that fire in the middle of the night?’ And I say, yes. Life is not about us and not about profit. When you help and you serve, something inside you is satisfied and rewarded. That is the most important thing because happiness is before all else.” –Edras Hidalgo, Authorized Driver, Mass Care and DAT Team Member (#Brentwood, NY) #MyRedCrossLife #RedCrossStory #Volunteer #LongIsland

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"One of the hardest days when I was at the Harlem Service Center for mostly survivors of Hurricane Maria from Puerto Rico, I think was when I spoke to this one gentleman. And I’m saying hard, because it was hard for me to accept. This gentleman was sleeping in his car for three weeks in the cold, and somebody finally told him go to the Red Cross. In Puerto Rico, he had applied for FEMA and they gave him a number, but he was not aware that FEMA was giving them Temporary Shelter Assistance. So he came to New York with nothing, sleeping in a friend’s car because he had no belongings. And it was hard knowing that he could’ve gotten shelter and meanwhile, he was sleeping in a car for three weeks. He had family, but they didn’t have room for him. I was able to get him a hotel...I think that was one of the hardest things. But to me that gave me even more incentive to get people housed and get people the services they needed. And while I was at the service center, I was able to house close to 40-50 families." - Carlos Menendez, specialty instructor and Disaster Assessment lead for Metro-NY North in Westchester County #MyRedCrossLife

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Nurse Betsy Tirado has been volunteering with the American Red Cross for about twenty years. She is an active member of the National Association of Hispanic Nurses (NAHN).