Monday, June 30, 2014

In Case You Missed It

Red Crossers at the scene of Brooklyn fire on Saturday
(Picture: Rena Silverman)
Upcoming Events

  • The Fourth of July is this Friday. Check out our safety tips to ensure a safe long weekend for you and your loved ones!

Weekend Roundup

  • Disaster responder Paul Allright led a team to Ashford Street, Brooklyn, on Saturday and assisted families affected by a fire in a six-story apartment building. The team provided housing assistance to one household. 
  • Patrick DeOssie led a disaster response team to Somers Street, Brooklyn, on Saturday to help families displaced by a fire in a three-story apartment building. Red Crossers provided housing assistance to six households (6 adults/1 child). Five of the six affected families received financial help as well.  
  • A fire broke out on Teller Avenue in the Bronx. Red Cross responders arrived at the scene and assisted five families of five adults and three children; three households (3 adults/3 children) received temporary housing; all received financial assistance.

Last Week in Review

  • On Thursday, Red Cross and Visiting Nurse Service of New York hosted a post-Sandy distress response workshop at the Brighton Beach Library in Brooklyn. Attendees listened to licensed clinicians as they discussed common reactions and symptoms experienced by people exposed to a single-disaster event such as Superstorm Sandy.
  • Also on Thursday, Red Crossers gathered at New York City headquarters, at the Greenwich, Conn., training room, the Hawthorne, New York, training room, and the Mineola, Long Island, board room to cheer on the advance of U.S. Men's National Soccer Team to the next round in FIFA World Cup.
  • Friday, Red Cross instructors appeared on FOX 5's Friday Good Day NY at 9:10 am, discussing water safety and CPR.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Sumaiyia Chowdhury: Volunteer in Training

Sumaiyia Chowdhury and John McPartland
by Alice Ding

Earlier this spring, Sumaiyia Chowdhury, a junior majoring in biology at St. John’s University in Queens, began training to become an American Red Cross disaster responder. Her introduction to disaster response was to “ride along” to a house fire.

A ride-along, or a trip into the field with a seasoned responder, is a great opportunity, especially for new volunteers like Chowdhury, to get a taste of the work of the Red Cross.

Volunteer History

Chowdhury started volunteering in high school with Key Club International, raising money for UNICEF. At St. John’s, her passion for giving back to the community strengthened when she became involved with Habitat for Humanity during her sophomore year, helping build new houses for those in need.

Chowdhury’s involvement with St. John’s Habitat for Humanity Club piqued her interest in joining the Red Cross and starting a Red Cross Club at St. John’s. “I want to make sure I make good use of my time,” Chowdhury said. “Ever since I started volunteering regularly, my life has changed so much that now, if I don’t volunteer, I feel weird.” 

Volunteering Today

Before heading into the field on her ride-along, Chowdhury’s Red Cross mentor, John McPartland, acquainted her with a responder’s basic responsibilities. For example, Chowdhury learned that responders make sure their Red Cross van is stocked with food, drinks, comfort kits and other basic necessities before leaving for a disaster scene. 

She learned from McPartland that the key is to be warm, welcoming and compassionate to those affected by disaster. 

When describing her experience in the field, Chowdhury had only positive comments. “I feel honored to contribute to the Red Cross. It’s interesting to meet different people and know how to react to different situations,” Chowdhury said.

Volunteering Tomorrow

Chowdhury added that although St. John’s has many community service clubs, none covers disaster relief, and a Red Cross club on campus would be unique. With a strong community service atmosphere on campus, Chowdhury believes the club can be a huge success.

Over this summer, Chowdhury will continue her Red Cross training. She says this will help her better prepare to start a Red Cross Club at St. John’s in the fall.

“What the Red Cross does is just amazing,” Chowdhury said. “They help so many people around the world. I’m excited to be more involved this summer and next fall.” 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

New York Times: Nonprofits & Case Managers Work Together Toward Progress After Sandy

In a recent New York Times article, Reporter Liz Robbins details how nonprofits, including the American Red Cross, are still working together to help people affected by Superstorm Sandy and the critical role disaster case managers are playing in advocacy and support for those individuals.

In the article, Robbins highlights the work of a Red Cross disaster case manager advocating on behalf of a woman in her 90s still recovering from Sandy many months after the storm. Red Cross case managers, like the one mentioned, are working hard every day to provide compassionate case management assistance to people whose homes were damaged by Sandy. That assistance includes working with residents to develop recovery plans that outline ongoing disaster-related needs (repair, health, emotional, and/or financial) and helping people navigate community-based services that can address these needs.

The Auer family’s experience illustrates the positive impact that case management can have on a family working to meet its recovery goals. On June 11, the Auers celebrated returning to their Staten Island home, which had been destroyed by Sandy. Chris Losavio, Red Cross disaster case manager, worked closely with the family, guiding them through rebuilding processes with nonprofit partners, helping them access financial assistance to meet needs for basic household items like furniture and appliances, and even organizing Red Cross volunteers to help install flooring, windows, and trim in the home so that the family could return.

“When I met Chris he said, ‘I’m not letting you go until we get things going.’ If it wasn’t for Chris, I would not be home because he got the ball rolling,” Laura Auer said.

Chris Losavio, Red Cross case manager, helped the Auer family of Staten Island navigate the many recovery resources necessary to get them back home after Sandy.

The Red Cross is one of many agencies that assists Sandy-affected residents with case management resources. In New York State, the primary provider of this support is the New York State Disaster Case Management Program. If you or a loved one is affected by Sandy and are in need of case management assistance, call the New York State Disaster Case Management referral line at 1-855-258-0483.

In addition to case management, thanks to generous donations from across the country, the American Red Cross is proud to have funded more than 80 community-based organizations that are rebuilding homes, communities and lives.

Josh Lockwood, CEO, American Red Cross Greater New York Region, speaks at a press conference on July 2, 2013, announcing nearly $3 million in Red Cross funding for the New York City Unmet Needs Roundtable.

To date, the Red Cross has provided nearly $88 million in grant funding to non-profit partners active in the recovery from Sandy throughout eight states. The Red Cross is the largest single funder of Unmet Needs Roundtables across New York State,providing nearly $3 million to the New York City Unmet Needs Roundtable, managed by New York Disaster Interfaith Services, and giving $1 million to the Health and Welfare Council on Long Island for the Long Island Unmet Needs Roundtable. The Red Cross also provided funding to other groups listed in Robbins’ article including: United Methodist Committee on Relief, The Salvation Army, Gerritsen Beach Long Term Recovery Project, the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, World Cares Center, Shorefront Y, New York Legal Assistance Group, and Local Initiatives Support Corporation.

Monday, June 23, 2014

In Case You Missed It

Comfort Kit & Red Cross Blanket for our Yonkers Kids
(Picture: Caroline C. Sherwin)
Upcoming Events
  • Visiting Nurse Service of New York Disaster Distress Response Program: Workshop
    Licensed clinicians will be present to educate attendees on the common reactions and symptoms experienced by people who've been exposed to a single disaster event such as Superstorm Sandy. The workshop will take place at the Brighton Beach Public Library in Brooklyn on June 26 from 2-3 p.m. For more information, please contact Disaster Distress Response Program at (718)-888-6955.
Weekend Roundup

  • Our Metro New York North team assisted eight families (estimated 14 adults/16 children, a rabbit, a bird and a cat) on Saturday morning at the fire scene of a multi-family home in Yonkers. Volunteers met with four families at a temporary reception center, opened with the help of the Yonkers OEM. Click here for more details and pictures.
  • The Red Cross provided disaster responder training to our volunteers. Watch the video above to see what it takes to become a volunteer disaster responder.
  • Summer is here and it's time to go swimming! Read these water safety tips provided by the Red Cross to better prepare yourself and loved ones for a fun time at the pool and beach.
  • The Bayside High School Red Cross Club traveled to Red Cross National Headquarters in Washington, D.C. at the beginning of June to participate in the International Humanitarian Law Youth Leadership Summit. Read the Queen's Chronicle article to find out more about the students' thoughts and experience on their trip to Washington, D.C.
  • The Red Cross Volunteer Medical Spotter Team lent their support to the NY Road Runners 10k marathon in Queens on Sunday. 
Team Red Cross at NYRR Queens 10K
(Picture: ARC Gold Pro Team)

Last Week in Review

Monday, June 16, 2014

AECOM Sponsored Blood Drive at Grand Central Terminal

On June 12, the Red Cross hosted the third annual blood drive in Grand Central Vanderbilt Hall with support from our partner, AECOM. The blood drive started at 8 a.m. and ended at 6 p.m. Here is some social media highlights from the event.

In Case You Missed It

Nielsen volunteers helping prepare Red Hood resident to be Red Cross Ready
(Picture: Kanhong Lin)

Upcoming Events
  • June 21: Emergency Preparedness Day in Far Rockaway
    The event will take place in Arverne by the Bay Community Center, starting at 10 a.m. Participants will attend a "Be Red Cross Ready" training, learn about hurricane evacuation tips and take part in a hands-only CPR demonstration.

    For more information and to register, call (212)875-2189 or e-mail
Weekend Roundup
  • Fire on Riverdale Ave
    A Red Cross team provided emotional and financial assistance to two families (six adults and four children) affected by the fire. A temporary reception center was set up where the Red Cross team could meet the families and provide further assistance. The electrical fire was caused by a fallen wire.
Last Week in Review

CITI and Red Cross Team Up to Help Service Members

Photo: Syncere Zakee

See more photos 

CITI employees and their families came to American Red Cross Greater NY Headquarters earlier this month to help bring comfort and caring to U.S. military veterans. They did so by hand writing “Thank You for Serving” notes and assembling personal hygiene comfort kits into which the notes will be placed. The 2,200 kits created that afternoon will be distributed to veterans at the Bronx and Manhattan Veteran’s Administrations.

Josh Lockwood, CEO, Greater New York Region, addressed the group. “The Red Cross provides compassionate care throughout a service member’s career and beyond through our Service to the Armed Forces program,” he said. “This is to ensure that our heroes receive the assistance they need.” He added, “It’s wonderful to see you all here today helping to provide that assistance.”

Earlier in the week, CITI employees wrote cards and assembled 1,200 comfort kits at CITI offices at 388 Greenwich Street. 

All of the kits will be distributed to the Bronx and Manhattan Veteran’s Administrations, with the cards included in each kit.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Red Cross Teams Providing Assistance Following Plane Crash in Harrison, N.Y.

NEW YORK, June 13, 2014—Following this morning’s fatal crash of a small plane in Harrison, N.Y., American Red Cross teams are at the scene to provide assistance to those who may need it. Among those responding are Red Cross mental-health staff who will provide emotional support to those who have been impacted by this incident. Additional Red Cross volunteers are also present to support residents and first responders at the scene. Our hearts go out to all those affected by this tragic event.

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or visit us on Twitter at @RedCrossNY.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Homecoming for Staten Island Family Displaced by Sandy

On June 11, 2014, the American Red Cross gathered with other organizations including the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation and New York Disaster Interfaith Services to welcome home the Auer family of Staten Island, nearly twenty months after Sandy’s landfall. To see photos of the homecoming celebration, click here.

The two-bedroom bungalow of John and Laura Auer, married for 37 years, was severely damaged when Superstorm Sandy made landfall on October 29, 2012.  John’s parents had purchased the home in 1938 and it had been passed down in the family.

“When my husband and son dragged me out, the water was up to my chest,” Laura Auer said. “When it was all said and done it was way over my head.”

The Auer family worked with Red Cross Case Manager Chris Losavio who helped them navigate resources available for people affected by Sandy.

“When I met Chris he said, ‘I’m not letting you go until we get things going.’ If it wasn’t for Chris, I would not be home because he got the ball rolling,” Laura Auer said.

Thanks to generous donations from the American public, the Red Cross, working in partnership with Tunnel to Towers and New York Disaster Interfaith Services, assisted the family both in making the needed repairs to their home, and in purchasing new furniture and appliances, making it habitable once again.

Losavio organized co-workers from the Red Cross who volunteered their own time to help Tunnel to Towers install flooring, windows, and trim in the home. To see photos of their work, click here.

When asked what it was like to be home, Laura Auer said:  “Awesome, I’m home. I can go to my own bed. It’s very exciting.”

Monday, June 9, 2014

Weekend Roundup + Upcoming Events

  • Fire in Newburgh, N.Y.
    A fire started aroun 5:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 7, on Lander Street in Newburgh, N.Y. The Red Cross responded and helped three families affected by the fire. Two of the three families were provided emergency assistance including financial assistance for lost personal items, emergency relocation and referrals with our community partners. reported on the fire here.
Photo credit: City of Newburgh Fire Department
  • Fire in Uniondale, Nassau County
    Also on Saturday, the Red Cross responded to a fire on Jerusalem Avenue and provided emergency funds to four families affected by the fire. News 12 Long Island has more details on the fire.
  • Fire in Queens, N.Y.On Sunday, the Red Cross responded to a 2-alarm fire on 42nd Street in Queens, providing affected residents with two clean-up kits and referrals for further services.

Upcoming Events

June 12: The Red Cross Blook Drive Hosted by AECOM

Come by Grand Central Terminal between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. June 12 to give the gift of life: blood. Walk-ins are welcome, though donors are encouraged to schedule an appointment in advance by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or clicking on the link below to schedule an online appointment. Sponsor code: AECOM  MAKE AN APPOINTMENT TODAY!

Friday, June 6, 2014

In Case You Missed It...Last Week in Review

The Red Cross meets with fire officials outside an apartment building on Summit Ave in the Bronx damaged by a fire that broke out June 4. Our team offered immediate assistance and referrals for affected residents.
(Photo: Phil Cogan)

Partnering to Help People Cope with Post-Sandy Stress

Although Sandy happened over 18 months ago, many are still affected by the storm. Visiting Nurse Service of New York and the Red Cross are partnering to help people cope with post-Sandy stress. If you or a loved one has been affected by Sandy and need emotional support, you can call Visiting Nurse Service of New York at 718-888-6955. For more information about an upcoming workshop, read our story on our partnership with Visiting Nurse Service of New York.


Red Cross Education for Kids - Safety Town

Many four- and five-year-olds entering kindergarten in Greenwich, Conn., learned about safety and emergency services in their hometown. The kids were able to participate in hands-on activities and meet with firemen, police and EMTs. Read it''s article and watch their video with a Safety Town instructor.


5-Alarm Fire on Staten Island

A 5-alarm fire broke out on Chestnut Ave just after 1 a.m. on June 5. The Red Cross responded to the scene promptly to help those affected. On June 6, our caseworkers set up at Staten Island Borough Hall to meet with displaced residents to discuss their next steps towards long-term recovery. amNewYork reported on the details of the fire and the assitance we provided.


Goldman Sachs Volunteers Mentor Red Cross Club Members

On June 5, volunteer mentors from Goldman Sachs came to Red Cross headquarters in New York to provide guidances to students from 10 Red Cross clubs from around the region. We've received positive feedback from both the mentors and the students! We thank the Goldman Sachs volunteers for taking time out of their busy schedule to support our Red Cross Youth.


Deloitte Team Help Local Residents

Volunteers from Deloitte came to the Red Cross headquarters in New York to help local residents in need. They assembled more than 1,000 personal hygiene comfort kids that will be distributed to disaster victims. Thank you, Deloitte, for giving back to the community and providing love and care to those who need it most!

Bayside High School Red Cross Club Goes to Washington, D.C.

The Bayside High School Red Cross Club, representing the Greater New York region, presented their Action Campaign at the National International Humanitarian Law (IHL) Youth Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C. this weekend. We could not be more proud of these young Red Crossers for their big achievements! Also, a big shout out to our Youth Services Manager, Amanda Crabbe, and to Red Crsos Disaster Responder Kanhong Lin for making the trip possible for the kids! To learn more, read our story on IHL and Bayside High School Red Cross Club.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Preparing for Godzilla

How do you prepare for a Godzilla attack?

Two weeks ago, we asked staff members at the Greater New York Red Cross how they would prepare for a Godzilla attack on NYC. Their answers formed the basis of our video, “How to Prepare for Godzilla.” The video (below) provides viewers with simple tips to prepare for any “Godzilla-size” disaster. We hope everyone who sees the video will take Red Cross emergency preparedness steps—Get a Kit, Make a Plan and Be Informed—which could save lives during a disaster. We’re happy to report that a number of media outlets picked up the video; all of them emphasized the importance of being prepared in advance of a disaster.  

Below is a clip from the CBS2 New York 5pm News on May 19: 

Here's an article from New York news website DNAinfo from May 18 discussing the video.

New York radio station 1010 WINS picked up the story and broadcast it on May 19 several times during rush hour. Below is one of the clips.

If you want more information about how to prepare for a disaster check out the Red Cross smartphone applications, which can provide helpful information on how to deal with a variety of emergency situations.