Monday, October 26, 2020

In Case You Missed It

60 year Red Cross volunteer Ross Ogden in Hartford, Connecticut circa 1982.

Over the last seven days, the Greater New York Red Cross provided emergency assistance to 42 adults and 10 children following 32 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

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

"Three Questions" With Garrison Harward

By Alessandro Malave, American Red Cross in Greater New York

"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.

Brooklyn resident Garrison Harward is a volunteer with the American Red Cross in Greater NY, serving as a disaster responder, helping residents impacted by local disasters across the five boroughs. Originally from California, Harward moved to NYC in 2013 and first joined the Red Cross after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto. As part of his three-week deployment there he traveled across the island helping to distribute solar panels and generators. Since COVID-19, Harward has taken on more volunteer hours and added responsibilities with the NY Red Cross.


How and why did you begin volunteering with the Red Cross?

I think I had a really unique entry into the Red Cross. I was a Peace Corps volunteer. I served in Senegal for two years after college. Through the former “Return the Peace Corps” volunteer network, I learned that the Red Cross needed more people to help in Puerto Rico who were used to working in pretty extreme conditions. So my very first interaction with the Red Cross was when I deployed to Puerto Rico. And that's the reason that I kept volunteering with the Red Cross because I had such a positive experience there.

Can you talk about your work responding to disasters during COVID-19?

It's been busy, actually. There are lots of fires, there are still unsafe apartments that people can't stay in, and there are also City services to get people into better situations. We're a part of that system. I've been doing lots and lots of deliveries [of relief items] as well as financial assistance. That often has to be delivered to the clients [impacted residents]. For a lot of people, that financial assistance can be the difference between them being able to get where they’re going to be staying or not. Or sometimes it’s whether or not people are going to eat that night.

Can you talk about teamwork during the pandemic?

There's a lot of good coordination happening, and a lot of people problem solving and willing to help. It's just cool to be in that environment. I've done a couple of overnight sessions at disaster scenes. There was a building collapse, and I was in an ERV [Emergency Response Vehicle] overnight, just to be there for Red Cross in case residents needed help. And then, I got to go into the OEM [NYC Emergency Management] Command Center. This was pretty cool. Being the Red Cross representative for that response, that all these different agencies are also a part of, it was great. It was so cool to be a part of the whole system that's trying to help people out.





Monday, October 19, 2020

In Case You Missed It

Volunteer Vivian Moy, recipient of the NY State Senate Commendation Award

Over the last seven days, the Greater New York Red Cross provided emergency assistance to 51 adults and 29 children for 39 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, October 12, 2020

In Case You Missed It

Red Cross distributing emergency supplies to California residents as part of Wildfire relief. (Photo: Ronnie Rigos)

Over the last seven days, the Greater New York Red Cross provided emergency assistance to 76 adults and 26 children for 37 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, October 5, 2020

In Case You Missed It

Evacuees in Vacaville, Calif., in August after wildfires tore through the countryside nearby.

Over the last seven days, the Greater New York Red Cross provided emergency assistance to 80 adults and 28 children following 36 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

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Always Seeking New Ways to Help Others

by Alessandro Malave, American Red Cross in Greater NY


Natacha Gomez has always found unique ways to give back and help others. She became a Red Cross volunteer this past last July and just three months later, jumped at the opportunity to deploy to Louisiana to help prepare local shelters for the impending landfall of Hurricane Laura.

Originally from Haiti, where she has lived on and off for most of her life, Gomez remembers her parents prioritizing community service at an early age. Recalling some advice she received as a child, she said: “They told me that unless you put yourself in someone else's shoes you cannot help that person.”

No stranger to disaster, the impact of the 2010 Haitian earthquake was deeply personal to Gomez.

“We really felt the impact,” Gomez said. “We’re from the Northern part of Haiti, and friends of mine and family where lost. I don't think I will ever forget them.”

The year before the earthquake, Gomez created a women’s empowerment organization. She, along with her team members, worked to help women recognize their own value, worth and strength. Gomez still serves as an ambassador for the program today.

A trained chef, Gomez has also used her skill and passion for cooking to help others. A year ago, after the Bahamas was devastated by Hurricane Dorian, she joined World Central Kitchen (WCK), a nonprofit (and Red Cross partner) founded by Chef José Andrés (pictured below next to Natacha) that provides meals to disaster survivors around the world. Her role was to cook meals for the large Haitian community on the island that was badly affected by the storm.


“I think that I was showing love by cooking for the kitchen,” Gomez said. She helped prepare 25,000 daily meals for this particularly vulnerable community for several months.

After a second WCK assignment, this time in Southern Texas supporting migrants, Gomez moved to New York. Motivated by the suffering caused by COVID-19, she joined the American Red Cross in Greater NY as a volunteer and quickly took as much training as possible.

“What I should have done in six months I did in one month,” Gomez laughed.

By the time she completed her training to serve as a Disaster Responder, able to manage emergency relief after a local incident in NYC, Hurricane Laura was making its way towards the Gulf Coast. The Red Cross put out a call to volunteers to travel down South to help and Gomez’ desire to put boots on the ground and turn her experience, training and compassion into action led her to raise her hand and deploy, despite COVID-19. She told herself: ‘there is COVID, but these people [impacted by Hurricane Laura] will also have needs.’


In Louisiana, she helped set up shelters for evacuees, some days traveling hundreds of miles between relief sites. On the night of August 23, when the massive storm made landfall, Gomez and her team were sleeping in a church. There was a lot of wind, but luckily, they were not flooded.

After landfall, Gomez and her fellow volunteers worked long days across multiple locations directing people to shelters. They encountered waves of residents every day and worked hard to guide them toward safe locations where they would find relief.

Back in New York after her 8-day deployment, Gomez looks forward to her new volunteer role helping New Yorkers impacted by local disasters.

“It’s the best feeling in the world being able to wake up and help someone else,” Gomez exclaims. “I am grateful every day to be alive.”



Monday, September 28, 2020

In Case You Missed It


Volunteers aid those in need of care at our non-congregate shelter in Spring, TX. 

Over the last seven days, the Greater New York Red Cross provided emergency assistance to 80 adults and 32 children following 39 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