Why drives so many New Yorkers to give of their time to help others? That’s one of the things we learned when we launched our #MyRedCrossLife Instagram series. Spearheaded by longtime Red Crosser Chi Kong Lui last August, the idea was simple: learn a bit more about the lives and motivations of some of our 6000+ volunteers. Here is a look back at eight of these stories.
"Monday night, I worked an overnight shift and we went to a fire. The family that was most affected by the fire was a very large family. They lost everything and the kids came out in their underwear. Being able to put them in a hotel for a few nights, drive them there, make sure they were ok, give them some clothes, blankets, and food - that’s what it’s all about. For me being able to make even a small difference was worth every ounce of sleep that I didn’t get that night. This is the only thing that makes me feel satisfied as a human: being able to help other people in times of crisis." -Jennifer MacNeill (Brooklyn, NY) #MyRedCrossLife #RedCrossStory #NYCgram
"The one thing I find surprising about responding to disasters is that there are some people who are so prideful, that they don’t want any help. There was a guy who lived by himself—it was just him and his two cats, and he was very upset. He pretty much lost everything. The man was in his 70s and he had been on his own since he was a teenager, and you could tell from doing the damage assessment of his home that he was well traveled. He just didn’t want to accept any services, but after talking to him more and more, I was able to convince him to take the services and he was very grateful at the end for having done it. He didn’t really say anything in particular. He just thanked us a hundred times and that was a very feel good story for me." -Robert Hall (New York, NY) #MyRedCrossLife #RedCrossStory #Volunteer #NYC
"One of the first things I tell a victim after a fire or a vacate is that they are not going to have to go through this alone. The Red Cross is going to help them and there are going to be other agencies that are going to help them. The second thing I let them know is that they are not going to be out in the streets. Many times they’ll start crying especially women who have children because it was in their mind that they were going to end up homeless out in the streets. It’s a good feeling when you can help somebody out of a really bad situation because I’ve been there. I remember growing up, it was just me, my mother, and my sister and we were poor. People helped us out in different ways as we were growing up. I want to do the same thing myself." -Patty Jones (Brooklyn, NY) #MyRedCrossLife #RedCrossStory #Volunteer
"The Red Cross was my means of working without working because I’m volunteering. It gave me the day to do something productive, not spend any money and I felt good at the end of the day. That was a big thing because if I didn’t come to Red Cross, I would sit at home, listen to music and I would feel exhausted at the end of the day because I exerted no energy and did nothing. The Red Cross gave me a sense of purpose and accomplishment that I didn’t have before I was working." -Ashley DeLuca (Woodhaven, NY) #MyRedCrossLife #RedCrossStory #Volunteer #NYC (Photo Credit: Yulduz Zaripova)
"In 2004, when Hurricane Charley hit, I was living in Florida. I actually watched my roof go off the house so I understand the devastation and the trauma of it. So you learn how to survive and you look around and realize that other people weren’t as strong or as fortunate as you were. Now I just enjoy being helpful and I feel like I’m giving back. I joke a lot of the time saying that I’m paying back for my sins, but I enjoy being able to help when I’m able." -Michael DeLeon (Bronx, NY) #MyRedCrossLife #RedCross #RedCrossStory #Instalike #NYCgram
“I think in everything we do in life we prepare for things. We prepare for careers, for families, but nobody really seems to take an interest in preparing for disasters. If we as a community can be more prepared, it makes it easier for us to respond better to our own disasters instead of relying on others. I didn’t have a lot of role models growing up so I think in a way I’ve always wanted to picture myself in a position where if I had the opportunity to help others I would. Now having a young son it makes it easier for me to want to set a good example. And I think if you watch somebody’s action it makes it easier for you to emulate it.” -Alex Poku (Harriman, NY) #MyRedCrossLife #redcrossstory #RedCross #nygram #volunteer #volunteering #photooftheday #instalike #follow #picoftheday
Learn more volunteering with the Red Cross.“I grew up in Florida and saw the Red Cross in action with all the hurricanes. Every couple of months, the streets would all get flooded. There was Hurricane Francis, Ivan, Jeanne. They all came through. I saw the Red Cross firsthand there, so I saw the impact they can have. I received the hot meals myself personally. Now that I’m older and starting to put perspective in my life, this is what I want to be doing in the long-term.” -Graham Austin (Brooklyn, NY) #MyRedCrossLife #redcrossstory #RedCross #nyc #nycgram #instalike #follow