Monday, December 13, 2010

We are so happy to help children who have lost their homes…

Jackie Cruz and some of her students from PS1. (Photo: John Cruz)
As his children outgrew their books, John Cruz, Greater NY Red Cross Senior Supervisor, Response, realized that other children might greatly benefit from them—kids he saw each day at the Chapter’s Client Services Department who had lost everything in a home fire. So John donated those books to the Chapter. Soon, he noticed that children who visited Client Services with their parents were taking the books home. “I thought that was wonderful,” he said. “Of course, that meant that more books were needed.”

John’s wife Jackie, an art teacher at Brooklyn’s P.S. 1 the Bergen School, came to the rescue. Jackie had wanted to involve her students in a project that would help other children; a book drive to benefit the Greater NY Red Cross seemed perfect. Jackie’s students collected more than 200 new and gently used children’s books—so many that John drove a Red Cross emergency response vehicle to P.S. 1 to haul the books back to the Chapter.

Red Cross overnight disaster responders then added to the collection, and Greater NY AmeriCorps volunteers put together bookcases. By October, The Cruz Library, with more than 300 books for children ages three years to teens, officially opened in Chapter’s Client Services area.

Children affected by disasters, primarily home fires, who accompany their parents to Chapter Headquarters to meet with client caseworkers, can now pick up a good book that will help to take their minds off of a difficult situation. They are encouraged to take home any book they wish.

“We are so happy to help children who have lost their homes to a fire or other disaster,” said John. “We hope they will take full advantage of this terrific new resource.”

John and Jackie Cruz, Brooklyn

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