Monday, January 31, 2022

“Three Questions” with Tamar Nagel


Interviewed by Linda Ayares, 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.


Tamar Nagel is a disaster responder with the American Red Cross in Greater NY. As part of her volunteer work, she provides emergency relief after local emergencies. In the days after the tragic Bronx fire on E. 181st Street earlier this month, Tamar offered one-on-one support to affected residents at a Service Center set up by NYC. She resides in Manhattan.

When did you start volunteering?

I began the training process at the end of August [2021] but did not do my first disaster shift until the start of November. At the start, it is important to volunteer regularly to ensure that the training sticks, so I was going in about once a week. Overall, the Red Cross is an amazing place to volunteer.

Can you talk about your experience volunteering so far?

Volunteering with the Red Cross, helping people after disasters and connecting them with resources, is a humbling experience. I like going out in the field, assessing a situation, and figuring out how best to help those affected. I also enjoy the company of the other people who volunteer with me, people of all ages, many with fascinating life experiences. I hope to continue for the foreseeable future.

What kind of work did you do in the aftermath of the big Bronx fire on January 9?

I was out of town the weekend that the fire took place. I got the text message that they [Red Cross] urgently needed responders, but I went as soon as I could. I took several shifts at the [NYC] Service Center in the days after the fire, as a caseworker. It was hard but I feel that as a human being, it was the least that I could do. It’s been eye opening and again, humbling, in many ways. I was thankful that the Red Cross gave me the chance to connect directly, and help several families dealing with some really challenging circumstances. I was close to tears at times hearing some of their situations. Despite language barriers at times, simple sympathy and support needs no translation (although the City did a wonderful job providing translators to assist). It was incredible to see how many different services and agencies there were to help, and I am grateful to have been a part of it.

"Three Questions" with Matt McLeod


Interviewed by Linda Ayares, 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.


Matt McLeod, a Manhattan-based tech consultant, has been a volunteer since the summer of 2021. He joined the Red Cross Mass Care team, which provides food, water, and relief supplies to individuals affected by disasters. He has also supported our fire safety program. On January 09, 2022, after the tragic fire on E 181st Street in the Bronx, he was among the first Red Cross team members on scene.

Why did you join the Red Cross?

I joined the Red Cross for a couple of reasons. First, my mom was a volunteer with the Red Cross many years ago, and she responded to United Airlines Flight 173, the aircraft that crashed in Portland, OR in 1978. Her experience of reaching out to her community in a moment of crisis left an impression on me.

Additionally, over the past two years, particularly with the COVID-19 pandemic, I see a need and an opportunity to strengthen our global community. I saw the Red Cross as an avenue to explore this critically important work.

Can you talk about your work after the Bronx fire?

I responded with our Emergency Response Vehicle, and distributed blankets and bottled water to building residents that were being helped at a nearby school. I also coordinated with the Mass Care team to support immediate feeding needs, with 200+ meals delivered to displaced residents via a local partner.


What was it like to be helping after such an incident?

I tried to remain focused on my work while also being respectful of the incredible loss that had occurred. One of the ways that I attempted to strike this balance was to connect people. There were so many individuals who were on scene helping - FDNY, EMS, NYPD, and community leaders. As needs emerged, I tried to work together as one team to support the families as best we could. 

While disaster relief is one important piece, I also believe that disaster prevention is paramount - it sends a signal that we care about each other before a disaster strikes.

Monday, January 24, 2022

In Case You Missed It

Red Cross on the scene of the Fox Street explosion/fire in the Bronx.

Over the last seven days, the Greater New York Red Cross provided emergency assistance to 141 adults and 39 children following 47 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, January 17, 2022

In Case You Missed It

Red Cross volunteers supporting residents from the fatal fire in the Bronx. (Photo: Maria Anguiano)
Over the last seven days, the Greater New York Red Cross provided emergency assistance following 58 local disasters. Here are some highlights from last week and a preview of upcoming activities. (See below)

Last Week in Review
  • Last Friday, our regional CEO Mary Barneby spoke to PIX11News about the national blood crisis. 
Upcoming Events and Activities

Monday, January 10, 2022

In Case You Missed It

Red Cross teams have been working around the clock to support affected families from deadly fire in the Bronx.

Over the last seven days, the Greater New York Red Cross provided emergency assistance following more than 40 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 
  • Jan 19: Join us for a Volunteer Info Session to learn about our many volunteer opportunities and how you can apply. 
  • Are you ready to turn your compassion into action? As a Disaster Casework volunteer, you will connect directly with people affected by disasters big and small to help them take the next steps in their recovery. Sign up here.

Monday, January 3, 2022

In Case You Missed It

Regional CEO Mary Barneby interviewed by NBC NY on the work of the Red Cross.

Over the last seven days, the Greater New York Red Cross provided emergency assistance to 98 adults and 23 children for 41 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 
  • Are you ready to turn your compassion into action? As a Disaster Casework volunteer, you will connect directly with people affected by disasters big and small to help them take the next steps in their recovery. Sign up here

Sunday, January 2, 2022

"Three Questions" with Matthew Fasciano

Interviewed by Catherine Hegeman, 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.


Matthew Fasciano has been a volunteer with the American Red Cross Disaster Action Team (DAT) in Westchester County for five years, a role which sees him provide emergency assistance after local disasters. After watching storms devastate the Gulf Coast and the Caribbean a few years ago, Matthew felt compelled volunteer. Born and raised in New York, Fasciano works as a nonprofit COO.

What has the Red Cross brought to your life?

If I’ve learned one thing, it’s that a fire or other disaster can turn somebody’s life upside down in an instant. What we’re able to do is provide assistance, support, care and compassion in someone’s darkest hour. And it’s immediate. It’s on the spot. I really treasure just being able to play a small part in that.

The second part, it may sound funny, but there is some truth to it: I’m nobody’s boss in this role. I’m just some guy. I have a day job where I am responsible for a lot of things. Here, I just get to be a volunteer. I just get to be someone who can help. I don’t have to make big organizational decisions, and that’s a very nice juxtaposition for me.

What do you bring to the Red Cross?

I think I bring a spirit of commitment. I take all of my personal and professional experience with me, in terms of how to engage people. How to talk to people from all walks of life who. The people we help, the one thing they have in common, as I’m meeting them, is a disaster. I lean on my experience as an educator and as a social worker and having done nonprofit work in a variety of settings, I lean on all of those experiences in my support of individuals affected by disasters.

What are the next steps in your volunteer journey?

I am just going to keep doing what I’m doing. I balance a lot of other things in my life, family and work and other volunteer engagements…the older I get I have an appreciation and a fondness for balance. And I have found a balance in my life and certainly with respect to what I’m doing for the Red Cross. So I think the immediate plan is just to keep doing what I am doing.