Wednesday, December 23, 2015

2016 New Year’s Resolution: Become a Superhero

By Rachel Coleman

Many of us make at least one resolution at the start of a new year.  From living a healthier lifestyle to (finally) finishing that special project, they can take any form.  This year, why not become a superhero instead?

No, you don’t need to don a mask or cape, but you can join a league of fellow like-minded citizens—the American Red Cross.

Just as superheroes have different powers, there are many different ways to make a positive and long-lasting impact on the people around you through the Red Cross:


American Red Cross volunteers make a difference in a multitude of ways every day, 365 days a year. From ensuring the delivery of an emergency message between a military service member and their families, to providing hope and comfort to families after a local disaster, to collecting life-saving blood and reunifying families after an international conflict, trained and dedicated Red Cross volunteers are there to help.

Regardless of your skills, background or physical abilities, there is a way for you to make a difference with the Red Cross. Visit to sign up and learn more today.

Give Blood

According to statistics maintained by the Red Cross, every two seconds someone in the United States needs blood, but less than ten percent of those eligible to donate actually do so each year.

Every time you donate blood, you can help save up to three lives.  You can safely donate blood every 56 days, so if you mark your calendar now, you could save nearly 20 lives in 2016—without once putting on a pair of tights! 

In Orange County, a blood drive is set for January 6, 2016 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Orange Regional Medical Center at 707 E. Main Street in Middletown.

To find more blood drives in your area or to host one of your own, visit:

Get Prepared

You can keep it even closer to home by resolving to get prepared this year.  Every family needs a plan for when disaster strikes.  If you weathered the last couple of hurricanes that barreled through the area, you understand how having a few key items like a flashlight, food, water and medications can make an enormous difference.

In partnership with New York State, the Red Cross is providing a FREE 15 minute online Citizen Preparedness Corps training on how to prepare, respond and recover from both natural and man-made disasters.

Visit, and gain the tools necessary to safeguard your own family this year.

With so much happening in the world today, perhaps what we all need are a few everyday heroes.  With the help of the American Red Cross, this year could be the year you save the world – or at least help your fellow neighbors.

Rachel is a new super hero, joining the Red Cross as a volunteer in November. 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Protecting Families One Alarm at a Time

By Amanda Rothenberg, American Red Cross Intern

Red Cross volunteers, Greg Jones and Lourdes Carrera, pose for a picture before a day of work
As part of our #GetAlarmedNYC initiative, American Red Cross volunteers went door to door throughout Jackson Heights to install free smoke alarms on Saturday December 5. #GetAlarmedNYC, in partnership with the FDNY, is meant to reduce home fire deaths and teach families about the importance of fire safety. Among those who received smoke alarms were Sangeeta Roy and Alexander Gonzales. After the installation they sat down with us to describe the significance of our visit. 

Roy, Carrera and Jones share a moment after the installation of her new smoke alarms.

Q: You had some smoke alarms but they don’t work?

Roy: “My home has none, I had some but they were beeping, they were malfunctioning, and I knew they served no purpose.”

Q: What inspired you to get a smoke alarm?

Roy: “I really wanted the Red Cross to come because I was really concerned about safety for my family… I have a very large family, my mom, my husband, children, brother, sisters.”

Q: What triggered this decision to get a smoke alarm installed?

Roy: “Seeing the news, seeing how many people lost their lives because of not having fire alarms, there were so many innocent lives that were gone, and I know that it was something I didn’t want for myself, for my family.”

Carrera talks fire safety with Gonzales and his two children.
Alexander Gonzales also made the decision to protect his family by installing smoke alarms. 

Q: How did you hear about this?

Gonzales: “I was at the kids’ PTA meeting and someone from the Red Cross came to the meeting and told us about how they were installing free smoke alarms and since I have the kids here in the apartment, I thought it was important for me to get the smoke detector. So I think it was wonderful that they came to the school because I really never thought about it, about having a smoke detector or making sure the ones I have are working.”

Q: We hear stories about tragedies involving homes without a smoke alarm, any thoughts on that?

Gonzales: “Yes, I have been seeing on the news about people dying because of fire, and I think it's great what the Red Cross is doing. If they hadn’t come to the school, I really wouldn't have thought about having [a smoke detector], and the guy explained to us why it was important. It’s very important not only for the kids but for everybody… it’s a way to save lives."

Q: Any message for the Red Cross volunteers?

Gonzales: “I was looking on the website and I saw about the volunteers. I thought the people who were working were part of the Red Cross, I didn’t know it was people in the community involved in this... I really thank you on behalf of my community for being here, to make sure that we are safe and that my kids are safe, and that everyone else’s kids are safe, I think they’re doing a wonderful job and it’s greatly appreciated.”

Roy left us with a parting remark, in regards to the Red Cross volunteers. “My message to these wonderful people, who have come to give their time their patience and their efforts in serving me and my family and helping to save our lives in the future. I want to thank them graciously for their continued work for the people of this country. Thank you for your time and patience.”

To make a smoke alarm installation, to volunteer, or for more information, visit our website or call 877-RedCross.