Forgotten but not gone, the Red Cross continues with Hurricane Sandy relief

By Jennifer Cannon
December 6, 2012

Over the course of one month, Hurricane Sandy has dissipated from the spotlight, but many families are still in need of help.  For those who were unaffected, the tragedy may have slipped your mind already, but for organizations such as the Red Cross, providing aid is still their main priority.

For over 200 years, the Red Cross has been providing aid in a wide variety of relief efforts. The Red Cross aids victims of natural disaster, supports members of the military and their families, collects blood, processes and distributes supplies, trains and educates on health and safety and develops international relief.

Their efforts  in New York and New Jersey mainly include doing anything they can to assist the families who are cleaning up what is left and helping them begin to repair and rebuild.

“We are driving our emergency response vehicles door to door to help deliver food and also supplies like flashlights, batteries, cleanup kits with buckets, bleach and gloves,” Sara Smith, representative from the Red Cross, said.

The Red Cross is also establishing popup emergency service locations “where people who have been affected can come and get meals and relief supplies and meet with health services,” Smith said. Additionally they provide mental health counselors to help with the emotional toll that Sandy has taken on so many people.

Thousands of people in New Jersey are not only left without power, but without their homes as well. The Red Cross is taking steps to help not just for the short term.

“We also have caseworkers to begin the long term plan of recovery with these people.” Smith said.

The Red Cross is not an organization that accepts donations of items such as food and clothes. Instead, they ask for money so they can purchase the supplies themselves.

“We know exactly what we need to give,” Smith said. It is easier for them to buy the supplies they need in bulk in order to distribute it most effectively.

Similarly, the Red Cross normally does not accept volunteers at random because a majority of their volunteers are trained in specific specialties, such as certified nurses. If you follow the local Red Cross on Twitter, however, they have been asking for spontaneous volunteers to help them package cleanup and other kits for families.

Consolidating all of their resources in one place, the Red Cross is making it even easier for victims to get help.

“We are the first-stop shop,” Smith said, “for people to come to us and we’ll be able to provide their emergency needs and be able to get them in touch with the right people to move forward.”

What Can You Do?

• Follow @RedCrossPhilly on Twitter


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Jennifer Cannon

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