On Thanksgiving Day, Deborah Stevens of Manhattan was visiting her older daughter in Ohio. She had come down with an upper respiratory infection and was asleep when she heard phones begin to ring. Her younger daughter, who was also out of town, in Atlanta, and her neighbors in Manhattan were calling to tell her that her apartment was on fire. “My apartment?” she said to her friends. “But nobody’s there!”
Sadly, Deborah’s apartment, where she had lived since 1982, did indeed suffer what the Fire Department told her was probably an electrical fire, and the damage was too extensive for Deborah to return home. Her neighbors, who had gone up to her apartment to make sure she was alright, saw the contact card left by the NY Red Cross and gave her the number to call.
The next week, as soon as Deborah returned to New York, she met with a client caseworker. “What I appreciated most,” said Deborah, who is staying with her sister-in-law, “was the way my caseworker made me feel—safe, and a little bit more relaxed. The uncertainty and nervousness I felt was alleviated.” The NY Red Cross also provided Deborah with a stipend for food, a MetroCard, and information about other agencies that could help her with housing and other services.
“The Red Cross is literally a lifesaving organization,” said Deborah. “It collects all these broken lives and it gives back a sense of confidence, security, hope and normalcy. It’s wonderful to know that everything is going to be all right."
Deborah Stevens, Manhattan
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