Friday, May 7, 2021

"Three Questions” with Red Cross Volunteer Margaret Sukhram

By Christine A. Gipson, 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.


Born in British Guyana and educated in England, Margaret Sukhram is a Nurse Practitioner currently living in Long Island. She's been with the Red Cross since 2012. In addition to her work in Health Services, she also volunteers with Services to the Armed Forces, the home fire safety program, Youth Services as well as the Disaster Action Team. And she also gives of her time to other organizations, including A-1 Universal and the New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute.
 
Where have you been deployed to outside of Long Island?

I have done 14 or 15 deployments in person and virtual, including Hurricane Harvey in Texas, wildfires in California and Hurricane Michael in Florida. Big local responses as well, like Hurricane Sandy and Hurricane Irene. 

Which response out of all those was the most memorable?

Oh gosh, memorable? Memorable could be all of them in different ways. Each disaster is so different, but one memory stands out. There was a lady, at one of the disasters, Hurricane Michael in Florida. She wouldn't sleep at the shelter where I was working. She was sleeping in her car. She was very angry, but she would come in and talk to the nurses but not the Mental Health volunteers. We thought she needed Mental Health support. And I remember her saying, "It's like Kubler-Ross [five stages of grief ]. I'm not ready to move on. I'm still angry." So we talked and we talked and we knew where she was at, in the spectrum of Kubler-Ross. And finally after talking with her, we were able to get her to sleep in the shelter and not in the car. And she eventually was able to talk with a Mental Health counselor. And later, before she left, she said AARP offered to interview her for a story about losing her home and everything. Needless to say, a few months later she was in the AARP magazine. So that was a great thing to see us help her to build some kind of resiliency and move on. She was able to accept her situation and share her story with others. So that was a wonderful experience for me, to know that someone who was hurt in a disaster was able to build some resiliency and share her story so others would know that they are not the only ones. There are lots of different stories. Each disaster is different.

What has volunteering brought to your life?

Such richness. I feel richer everyday for volunteering. I feel gratification. I feel that I'm making a difference in people's lives. And I feel that when you are kind to people, kindness pays off. I love to see people smile. You can see relief in them when they know that people are listening to their stories. It has just brought richness to me as a person, as a human being. 

Volunteers for the Red Cross, I feel, are very special people, and I've developed great friendships with people both in different states that we keep in touch with and locally. I love to work with the Red Cross'ers because I feel that they are special people to want to donate their time and energy to this cause of helping others.

Monday, May 3, 2021

In Case You Missed It

Fairview Fire Department installed over 300 free fire alarms in 4 days.

Over the last seven days, the Greater New York Red Cross provided emergency assistance to 86 adults and 30 children following 42 local disasters. Here are some highlights from last week and a preview of upcoming activities. (See below)

Last Week in Review
  • This past week, the American Red Cross in Greater NY set a goal to fundraise $2021 to support our Sound the Alarm campaign to #EndHomeFires, our nation’s most frequent disaster.
  • Last week in partnership with the American Red Cross, the Fairview Fire Department installed over 300 free smoke alarms in just four days as a part of our Sound the Alarm effort to #EndHomeFires.
  • On Thursday, our volunteers assisted a family of 5, providing financial assistance, emergency housing and more, following a home fire in Brooklyn.
  • On Sunday, we shared that we are working alongside the Greenwich Fire Department this month to help #EndHomeFires by installing free smoke alarms in Greenwich, CT.
  • Over the weekend, we shared the NFL Auction page where you can bid on Super Bowl tickets, signed memorabilia and more to support the Red Cross mission, as part of our #HeroesForHumanity virtual event.
  • On Wednesday, we shared Red Cross President & CEO Gail McGovern’s story about the life-changing experience getting her COVID-19 vaccination and how the moment left her feeling reassured and safe.

Upcoming Events and Activities

Monday, April 26, 2021

In Case You Missed It

Red Cross volunteers participating in our 2021 Run for Humanity.

Over the last seven days, the Greater New York Red Cross provided emergency assistance to 52 adults and 18 children following 34 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, April 19, 2021

In Case You Missed It

Red Cross volunteers working alongside partners to support Queens residents

Over the last seven days, the Greater New York Red Cross provided emergency assistance to 55 adults and 10 children following 35 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

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Red Cross Needs More Bronx Volunteers for Local Disaster Relief & and Other Community Programs

National Volunteer Week: Red Cross Needs More Bronx Volunteers for Local Disaster Relief & and Other Community Programs


by John Norris, American Red Cross in Greater NY

National Volunteer Week, running from April 18th to April 24th, is upon us and the American Red Cross in Greater New York wants to thank the many dedicated volunteers in the Bronx who for the past year have worked tirelessly to help those in need during these uncertain times. In fact, for many dealing with the loss of their home to a fire or other emergency, the pandemic has meant a disaster on top of a health crisis and Red Cross volunteers have been there for these individuals with compassion and care. 

“Red Cross volunteers in the Bronx are invaluable for the organization, providing support after local disasters, teaching resilience and emergency preparedness, supporting service members, veterans and their families, and so much more!” said Mary Barneby, CEO, American Red Cross Greater in New York.

This interactive Red Cross disaster response map from 2020 highlights how volunteer teams have been particularly busy supporting our diverse communities in the Bronx and across NYC. But the Red Cross needs more volunteers in the Bronx to help in their efforts!

In 2020, Red Cross teams helped roughly 2000 Bronx residents following approximately 300 local emergencies like fires, floods and building collapses. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Red Cross has adapted their work to help ensure the safety of their volunteers and those they serve with PPE, social distancing, and virtual caseworkers.

The Red Cross is calling on Bronx residents to volunteer their time with the Red Cross to lend their compassion and skills to provide hope and comfort during these tumultuous times. The Red Cross is always looking for volunteers that mirror our diverse local Bronx communities.

Among those Red Cross team volunteers from the Bronx is Hector Pereira, who for decades, has served the New York City Bronx community. Hector states that his “desire to do volunteer service in his community came at a youthful age and has continued to this day,” and mentions that, at the Red Cross, “volunteers are not only respected, but cared for.”

As emphasized in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), volunteerism is an important vehicle for sustainable development because it enables communities to participate in their own growth. Bronx volunteers are particularly needed to help strengthen community disaster resilience, bolster community trust, and build social cohesion, because their efforts will be most effective in advancing the transformations required to enable sustainable outcomes for the people, by the people.

For more information on Red Cross volunteer opportunities and to sign up as a volunteer, please visit www.redcross.org/volunteertoday.

The Red Cross relies on the generosity of the American public to carry out its humanitarian work. To make a financial donation visit www.redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.




Monday, April 12, 2021

In Case You Missed It

Volunteers supporting residents displaced by Queens fire.

Over the last seven days, the Greater New York Red Cross provided emergency assistance to 65 adults and 11 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, April 5, 2021

In Case You Missed It

Long-time Greater NY Red Cross volunteer, Dottie Brier. 

Over the last seven days, the Greater New York Red Cross provided emergency assistance to 91 adults and 34 children following 49 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