Monday, November 12, 2018

In Case You Missed It — Nov 12

Red Crossers honoring our nation's veterans at the NYC Veteran's Day Parade (Photo: Kevin Suttlehan)
Over the last 7 days, the Greater New York Red Cross provided emergency assistance to 115 adults and 18 children following 60 disaster responses. Here are some highlights from last week and a preview of upcoming activities. (see below)

Last Week in Review
Upcoming Events & Opportunities
  • Nov 12, 16, & 19: Red Cross blood drives will take place from 2 to 7 p.m. at the Greater NY Red Cross building located at 520 West 49th Street, Manhattan. Schedule an appointment to donate today
  • Nov 15: American Red Cross is hosting Sunrise to Save Lives Breakfast to eliminate measles through improved vaccination coverage. To purchase tickets, please visit: https://501auctions.com/sunrisetosavelives. For questions and sponsorship opportunities, please contact Dawn Neilson at dawn.neilson@redcross.org or 516-747-3500 ext. 203. 
  • Nov 16: Sign up for a free 2-hour class about the Fundamental Principles that guide the work and decisions of all Red Cross Red Crescent workers. RSVP here or contact Sara Onvani at sara.onvani2@redcross.org
  • Dec 13: Join the Red Cross Young Patrons at their Holiday Soirée: a night of conversation, drinks, live music and general holiday cheer at the beautiful and historic Players Club in Gramercy Park. To purchase tickets, click here

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Volunteer Snapshot: Jeff O'Neil

Jeff O'Neil in Mexico Beach, Florida after Hurricane Michael
Jeff O’Neil remembers walking past his local Red Cross in Huntington, Long Island thousands of times before one day deciding to walk in and learn more. 16 years after that fateful decision, O’Neil has not looked back. From working in a mega shelter for victims of Hurricane Harvey to working with Health Services after a devastating tornado in Joplin, Missouri, O’Neil has dedicated countless hours helping those affected by disasters across the country. Most recently, O’Neil deployed to Florida for two weeks in response to Hurricane Michael. There, he drove an Emergency Response Vehicle and teamed up with a local volunteer fire department to provide warm meals to residents impacted by this historic storm.

When asked what he’s learned from his 16 years with the Red Cross, O’Neil said:

“I have the best feeling that I’ve had in my life when I’m reaching out and helping somebody else…And the Red Cross has given me the opportunity to be on that path, to find those people that need help. Like a lot of the things the Red Cross has done for me, nothing is huge. There’s been no great flash of light; it’s just been little, little things where I can see somebody feel a little bit relieved in a crazy situation. And if I can help be a part of that, it’s the best feeling I’ve ever had.”
O'Neil after the 2011 Joplin, Missouri tornado


O'Neil and fellow volunteers in Florida responding to Hurricane Michael

Mexico Beach, Florida

Red Crossers team up with Lanark Volunteer Fire Department after Hurricane Michael

Monday, November 5, 2018

In Case You Missed It - Nov 5

Red Cross offered emergency preparedness training to students of New Dorp High School on Staten Island 
Over the last 7 days, the Greater New York Red Cross provided emergency assistance to 96 adults and 27 children following 33 disaster responses. Here are some highlights from last week and a preview of upcoming activities. (see below)

Last Week in Review

Upcoming Events & Opportunities
  • Nov 6, 9, & 12: Red Cross blood drives will take place from 2 to 7 p.m. at the Greater NY Red Cross building located at 520 West 49th Street, Manhattan. Schedule an appointment to donate today
  • Nov 15: American Red Cross is hosting Sunrise to Save Lives Breakfast to eliminate measles through improved vaccination coverage. To purchase tickets, please visit: https://501auctions.com/sunrisetosavelives. For questions and sponsorship opportunities, please contact Dawn Neilson at dawn.neilson@redcross.org or 516-747-3500 ext. 203. 
  • Nov 16: Sign up for a free 2-hour class about the Fundamental Principles that guide the work and decisions of all Red Cross Red Crescent workers. RSVP here or contact Sara Onvani at sara.onvani2@redcross.org
  • Dec 13: Join the Red Cross Young Patrons at their Holiday Soirée: a night of conversation, drinks, live music and general holiday cheer at the beautiful and historic Players Club in Gramercy Park. To purchase tickets, click here!

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Red Cross, Congresswoman Clarke Team up to Help Get Brooklyn Residents More Prepared

L to R: John Waldman (American Red Cross), Zellnor Myrie, Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, Assemblywoman Diana Richardson, Alex Poku (American Red Cross)
The American Red Cross teamed up with Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke this last Sunday, October 28, 2018 in Crown Heights to provide emergency preparedness training to local residents at the Shalom Senior Center. Also supporting the event are NY State Assembly Members Jaime Williams and Diana Richardson.

“The American Red Cross urges everyone to make sure they are prepared for a disaster and not wait until an emergency occurs and it’s too late,” said Josh Lockwood, Regional CEO, American Red Cross in Greater NY. “Thank you to Congresswoman Clarke and NY State Assembly Members Williams and Richardson, for their commitment to helping keep NYers safe and prepared.”

“Far too many families don’t have emergency plans. Prior to Hurricane Sandy, many Brooklyn residents never imagined we would see a storm of that magnitude. However, emergencies come in many forms, from hurricanes, to blackouts, to home fires – and no community is exempt. Central Brooklyn neighborhoods are filled with old, historic buildings which are more susceptible to disasters due to poor ventilation and lack of emergency access points among other things. American Red Cross’ emergency preparedness training will equip families with knowledge to plan, respond, and recover from potential disasters. I encourage everyone to engage in this important conversation.”



The event is part of the Citizen Preparedness Training, a partnership between the Red Cross and New York State providing free emergency preparedness education. The presentation titled, Prepare, Respond, Recover: What to do When Disaster Strikes, is taught by experienced Red Cross instructors and gives a comprehensive overview on how to prepare for natural and man-made disasters and how to respond to and recover from them. It also provides information on types of common disasters, ways to prepare as an individual, family and community member, what to do when disaster strikes and what actions you can take afterwards to aid in your recovery.

Established in 2014, Citizen Preparedness Corps has empowered more than 60,000 NYC residents with emergency preparedness skills and resources. The partnership with Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke represents an ongoing commitment by the U.S. House of Representatives to emergency preparedness.

To learn more about the Red Cross Citizen Preparedness Training, click here.

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 redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.




"Three Questions"...with Night Shift Disaster Responder Francisco Resto

“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.



Francisco Resto is a longtime member of the American Red Cross disaster services team. Resto joined the organization 11 years ago as an Emergency Communications Center dispatcher and currently serves as a disaster responder. In this role he goes to the scene of fires, floods, vacates, building collapses, and other emergencies across all five boroughs where he delivers emergency humanitarian relief to affected residents. And what makes Resto’s already-unique job even more so are his work hours: 10:00 P.M. to 6:30 A.M. Along with his full-time job with the Red Cross, Resto is also a full-time student. We recently caught up with him for a quick chat to learn about what it is like taking on this important role in the middle of the night.

Often the residents you are helping are woken up by some kind of disaster. How do people react to seeing the Red Cross in the middle of the night?

I usually get comments like, “Its three in the morning, and you guys are here?!” Having someone present at all times of day is in and of itself comforting. We let people know that we’re here to help and here to guide. Our presence, often unexpected, means a lot.

A lot of people consider NYC the City that never sleeps. Do you have a different perspective on the City now that you are responding in the middle of night, a different perspective than if you were responding during the day?

The City feels so small at night. The reason why I say that is because, yes, New York is a large city; it’s very dense, but at night there are so few people on the streets so you can get anywhere in 20 minutes. Even if it’s the northern most part of the Bronx or Far Rockaway, you can get anywhere pretty fast. This means a lot when you are heading to help a family who really needs the assistance.

Is there a memory of a particular family you have helped on your night shift that has stuck with you?

It is difficult to remember one particular family since I respond to incidents on an almost nightly basis, but I do remember a night shift about ten months ago in the middle of the cold winter: a 5-alarm fire in the Bronx displacing an entire building with roughly 60 units. Most of the clients had alternative means of housing and did not need Red Cross assistance, which is a great thing, but we did end up housing roughly ten large families.

I remember arriving on scene and trying to navigate and evaluate the chaotic fire scene. There were faces in the crowd that just couldn’t believe a fire could happen to them in the cold of winter at almost 11 at night. Most of the clients we assisted were huddled inside a typical Bronx Bodega just across the street from the fire building.The cold winter air, the frozen water on the ground, and the grief of losing a home, I knew I needed to help get a better place for them to gather. After working to secure an MTA bus I approached the group, quickly announced my name, the organization I represented, and informed the clients we have a bus on the scene to keep everyone warm and safe, and we would immediately begin the process for those who need a place to stay for the night that was warm and dry. We assisted the families present with housing, financial assistance, and all the necessary mass care items needed at the time in record time, closing out the incident in roughly 2-3 hours.



Monday, October 29, 2018

In Case You Missed It – Oct 29


Volunteers installing free smoke alarms over the weekend with
Assemblywoman Pellegrino. (Photo: Lori-Ann Pizzarelli)
Over the last 7 days, the Greater New York Red Cross provided emergency assistance to 70 adults and 26 children following 44 disaster responses. Here are some highlights from last week and a preview of upcoming activities. (see below)

Last Week in Review

Upcoming Events
  • Oct 30, Nov 2 & 5: Red Cross blood drives will take place from 2 to 7 p.m. at the Greater NY Red Cross building located at 520 West 49th Street, Manhattan. Schedule an appointment to donate today
  • Nov 15: American Red Cross is hosting their inaugural Sunrise to Save Lives Breakfast to eliminate measles around the world through improved vaccination coverage. To purchase tickets, please visit: https://501auctions.com/sunrisetosavelives. For questions and sponsorship opportunities, please contact Dawn Neilson at dawn.neilson@redcross.org or 516-747-3500 ext. 203. 
  • Dec 13: Join the Red Cross Young Patrons’ Holiday Soirée for a night of conversation, drinks, live music and general holiday cheer at the beautiful and historic Players Club in Gramercy Park. To purchase tickets today!

Monday, October 22, 2018

In Case You Missed It – Oct 22

Red Cross volunteers providing comfort, a hot meal, snacks, and water to
Hope and her 3-week-old daughter, Scarlett in Panama City.
Over the last 7 days, the Greater New York Red Cross provided emergency assistance to 101 adults and 40 children following 39 disaster responses. Here are some highlights from last week and a preview of upcoming activities. (see below)

Last Week in Review

Upcoming Events
  • Oct 22, 23 & 29: Red Cross blood drives will take place from 2 to 7 p.m. at the Greater NY Red Cross building located at 520 West 49th Street, Manhattan. Schedule an appointment to donate today
  • Oct 25, 27: “Sound the Alarm” fire safety smoke alarm installation events are coming to Long Island on Oct 25 (in partnership with PSEG Long Island) and in Newburgh on Oct 27
  • Nov 4: The deadline for signing up for the Marathon Medical Spotter Team has been extended to Oct 23. The Spotter Team will monitor marathon runners in the post finish walk-off area and accompany those needing medical assistance to the nearest medical tent. Spotters MUST attend a “Hand-Only CPR” session to prepare for the event, and have a Red Cross ID. Active Red Cross volunteers can sign up on Volunteer Connection here.