Tuesday, March 29, 2016

In Case You Missed It - Mar 28

The Belgian Red Cross at the scene of March 22 bombings in Brussels.

Over the last 7 days, the Greater New York Red Cross provided emergency assistance to 76 adults and 29 children following 33 local disasters. Here are some highlights from last week and a preview of upcoming activities (see below).

Last Week in Review

Upcoming Events and Opportunities
  • Mar 30, 31: Red Cross blood drive: 1 to 7pm: 520 West 49th Street, Manhattan. Schedule an appointment to donate today.
  • Apr 1-3: The Greater New York Red Cross is holding a 3-day Disaster Response Institute this weekend. Click here for more information on the event
  • Apr 2: Metro New York North will be holding its annual Red and White Ball. It promises to be a great time! You can find out more here. 
  • Apr 6: #GetAlarmedNYC is coming to the Melrose section of the Bronx next week. Volunteer to help out or sign up to get your own free smoke alarm installation.
  • Apr 9: Red Cross’s Home Fire Preparedness Campaign is coming to Hempstead, Long Island. Volunteer to help out or sign up to get your own free smoke alarm installation.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Long Island Volunteer Lends a Hand Down South

By Donna Nicholls, American Red Cross in Greater New York

As massive flooding continues to affect communities in Louisiana, Texas, and Mississippi, thousands of people have been left homeless and struggling by the ongoing disaster. Currently, about 2,800 homes have been destroyed, and that number continues to rise as isolated communities are accounted for. 

It is disasters like these that prove the commitment and compassion of our team, as more than 1,800 Red Crossers alongside partners provide shelter, food, comfort, and medical care to the displaced. 

Last week one of our own health services volunteers, Debbie Hayden, deployed to Southeastern Louisiana to do her part. She is currently managing a health services team there. We recently had a chance to speak with her to learn more about her work.


Q:  How many deployments have you been on?

A:  I have traveled outside of New York to serve in 5 previous national disaster relief operations so this is my 6th deployment.  I also served during Hurricanes Irene and Sandy.   

Q:  How are you able to help families on this mission? 

A:  I have been a registered nurse for 25 years.  On this mission, I lead a health services team of 5 nurses in Madisonville, Louisiana.  Together we are addressing disaster related health needs such as lost medications and medical equipment.  We also provide nursing support such as education, advocacy, and referrals to other agencies who can help with their specific needs. 

Q:  Who are you finding needs the most help? 

A:  Many of my patients are single mothers with their children as well as elderly and disabled residents.

Q:  Is there one particular survivor who inspired you?

A:  Yes.  I met James, a United States Air Force veteran who is about 60 years old.  He is a resilient man. He is living in a Red Cross shelter.  He has many health issues and requires oxygen at all times.  His home was destroyed by two feet of flood water.  When we left the shelter for the day, we saw him plug in his oxygen concentrator machine and lie in his cot.  I remember him saying “I don’t have much time left on this Earth and I’m not leaving this town.  It’s my home.  I will find a way to get by.”  


Q:  What do you hope people learn about the families you helped in Louisiana? 

A:  The people of southern Louisiana are just like New Yorkers.  They love their homes and their hometowns. 

To learn more about the Red Cross response to flooding in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi click here. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

In Case You Missed It - Mar 21

Clara Barton Award Recipient Oonagh Turrito (Photo: Yulduz Zaripova)
Over the last 7 days, the Greater New York Red Cross provided emergency assistance to 109 adults and 52 children following 49 local disasters. Here are some highlights from last week and a preview of upcoming activities (see below).

Last Week in Review

Upcoming Events and Opportunities
  • Calling all golf lovers! Barclays is looking for support at the PGA tour playoffs this summer from August 23-28 in Farmingdale, LI. Among many exciting perks, signing up gets you full admission to the tournament for you and a guest. Learn more about this great opportunity. Don't forget to select American Red Cross as your affiliation when you register!
  • Apr 1-3: The Greater New York Red Cross is holding a 3-day Disaster Response Institute next weekend. Click here for more information on the event
  • Apr 2: Metro New York North will be holding its annual Red & White fundraising ball. It promises to be a great time! You can find out more here. 
  • Apr 9: Red Cross’s Home Fire Preparedness Campaign is coming to Hempstead, Long Island. Volunteer to help out or sign up to get your own free smoke alarm installation.


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

13 Things You Did Not Know About the Red Cross in NYC and Beyond

By Mathew Hurst and Catherine Kinney

"You mean there's more to the Red Cross than just hurricanes and blood drives?"

As such a globally-recognized symbol, the Red Cross can mean many different things to many different people. Given the broad scope of our humanitarian mission, we wanted to share a few facts that you may not have known about the work of the Red Cross here in NYC, across the country and around the world.

1.  The Red Cross is the largest humanitarian network in the world.



The American Red Cross is part of a global Red Cross network comprised of more than 10 million volunteers working in nearly 190 countries around the world! The nature of the day-to-day work may vary but the guiding humanitarian mission and principles remain the same.


2.   Every year the President of the United States proclaims March as Red Cross Month.




In a tradition which dates back to President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1943, every year at the beginning of March, the Commander-in-Chief declares March as Red Cross Month. On March 2 of this year, President Obama proclaimed,


Their service has meant so much to so many, and it reflects a fundamental American truth: we look out for one another and we do not leave anyone behind. This month, we renew our sense of common purpose and honor all those whose sacrifices have made our society more prepared, resilient, and united.”

3. The Red Cross aided those who survived the sinking of the Titanic.




When passengers arrived in New York harbor following the sinking of the Titanic, the Red Cross was there in 1914 to help those who survived one of history’s deadliest maritime disasters. Red Cross also offered assistance to families who lost loved ones when the Titanic went down. Here’s one family’s story.


4.  90% of the disasters the American Red Cross responds to are home fires.




When many people think of the Red Cross, our relief efforts following natural disasters usually come to mind first. But the Red Cross provides more assistance following home fires than after any other disaster. With nearly 2000 responses to home fires every year in this region, Greater NY is the busiest in region in the country for the American Red Cross. Make sure you are prepared for a home fire by checking out our Home Fire Safety and Prevention tips.

5.  In the movie Ghostbusters, the Red Cross was at the ready to assist those affected by the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.

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Even the Ghostbusters need a little help now and then. You might have missed our cameo, but the Red Cross was there to offer comfort and care to Louis Tully and all affected by the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, just like we do outside the silver screen.

Just remember: When you need help in an emergency “who you gonna call?” should still be 911, and right behind first responders you can expect to see a helping hand from one of our Red Cross volunteers.

6.  The Red Cross can help you prepare for Godzilla and Sharknado.


Being a Red Cross volunteer means being prepared and helping others prepare, even for disasters as unlikely as Godzilla and Sharknado. Previous Red Cross blog posts have helped get residents ready for both.

We recommended having flashlights, batteries, food, water, and maps in case of these emergencies and a safe place to meet your family in case you are split up. Our Red Cross Emergency App is another great resource to prepare for the unexpected.

7.  There are THREE symbols that represent the Red Cross Network Globally.


Along with the Red Cross symbol, did you know the two other symbols used by our global network? The Red Crescent was formally recognized in 1929 and today is used by 33 of the 189 recognized societies worldwide. The Red Crystal is another neutral symbol of the Red Cross, formally recognized in 2005.

8.  During the Northeast Blackout of 2003, the Red Cross responded to more than 70 fires.


The Northeastern blackout, the world’s second-most widespread blackout, affected about 45 million people in eight U.S. states. While Red Cross response teams were out helping stranded commuters, volunteers were also providing assistance following more than 70 home fires. To put things in perspective, on average, the Greater NY Red Cross responds to seven local emergencies every day. Why so many fires in a short period of time? Unsafe use of candles was one reason. Click here for Red Cross Tips on coping with power outages.

9.  The American Red Cross accepts vehicle donations.



The Red Cross doesn't only accept money, we are able to receive vehicle donations as well. As a donor, the program provides a cost-free way to dispose of your unwanted vehicle while getting a tax deduction. Donating your vehicle is another great way to help us help others.

10. The International Red Cross has won 4 Nobel Peace Prizes.



Henri Dunant, founder of the International Red Cross, was the co-recipient of the first Nobel Peace Prize in 1901 for his humanitarian work. Since then, the Red Cross has won the honor three other times: 1917, 1944 and 1963.

11. Red Cross is a part of the United Nations.



The global Red Cross network is represented at the United Nations. Two branches of the Red Cross--the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)--advocate for our humanitarian principles on the world’s largest stage, right here in NYC. Click here to learn more about their work at the UN.

12. Volunteers constitute 90% of the total workforce of the American Red Cross.


Red Cross volunteers fulfill many roles, from providing assistance following home fires,to teaching CPR, to installing free smoke alarms, to coordinating blood drives,to serving as board members and so much more. Since we are dependent on our volunteer force to carry out most of our humanitarian work, volunteers enable us to carry out our mission in NYC and beyond. Across the organization, the Red Cross has an average of 14 volunteers to every employee.

If you’re passionate about helping people and looking to volunteer with a visionary humanitarian organization, you can make a difference with the Red Cross by becoming a volunteer today.

13. Every 60 seconds in the US, 44 people turn to the American Red Cross for comfort, care and hope.


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To learn more about the Red Cross mission and how you can join us, visit www.redcross.org.

Note: Yes, we realize that Rick Moranis appeared twice in this blog post. 

Monday, March 14, 2016

In Case You Missed It - Mar 14

Metro New York North Volunteer Award Recipients
Over the last 7 days, the Greater New York Red Cross provided emergency assistance to 82 adults and 32 children following 50 local disasters. Here are some highlights from last week and a preview of upcoming activities (see below).

Last Week in Review
Upcoming Events and Opportunities




Tuesday, March 8, 2016

In Case You Missed It - Mar 8



Over the last 7 days, the Greater New York Red Cross provided emergency assistance to 134 adults and 53 children following 53 local disasters. Here are some highlights from last week and a preview of upcoming activities (see below).

Last Week in Review

Upcoming Events and Opportunities
  • Mar 12, 16: March is Red Cross Month and we’ll be honoring our volunteers throughout the region with Recognition and Awards ceremonies in Metro New York North and Greater New York.
  • Mar 19: The #GetAlarmedNYC campaign to install free lifesaving smoke alarms throughout our Greater New York region is coming to Port Richmond, Staten Island in less than two weeks. Volunteer or sign up for a free smoke alarm installation at www.redcross.org/GetAlarmedNYC.
  • Apr 1-3: The Greater New York Red Cross is holding a 3-day Disaster Response Institute next month. Click here for more information on the summit.
  • Apr 2: Next month Metro New York North will be holding its annual Red & White fundraising ball. It promises to be a great time! You can find out more here.

NY Red Cross Hosts Migrant/Refugee Panel

By Peter Belfiore, American Red Cross

Last year, more than a million refugees made the dangerous journey over both land and sea to reach Europe according to statistics by the International Organization for Migration. Desperate to escape conflict in their homelands, thousands have tragically lost their lives on the journey. In the countries that receive them, international humanitarian groups, like the Red Cross, are hard at work trying to provide relief to this massive influx, but they face a number of challenges.



On Thursday February 25, 2016 the Greater New York Red Cross hosted a panel to discuss these challenges and find a way forward. Moderated by CUNY professor of sociology Dr. Mehdi Bozorgmehr, the panel’s members included Ashraf El Nour, Permanent Observer of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to the UN; Mary Jo Frawley, field nurse for Doctors Without Borders; Philip Spoerri, Permanent Observer of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to the UN; and Joan Timoney, Senior Director of Advocacy and External Relations of the Women's Refugee Commission.



Speaking to a packed auditorium of 200+ Red Cross volunteers and other internationally-minded New Yorkers, each panel member shared their own unique perspective on the current crisis. Ms. Timoney highlighted the plight women and children making the perilous journey and offered practical advice to provide them with better protection. Mr. Spoerri discussed the work of the Global Red Cross Network in countries of origin and in Europe emphasizing that more than 90 percent of current migrants are fleeing against their will. Mr. Nour described the magnitude of the conflicts refugees are fleeing from namely Syria, where the population has been displaced by fighting. Finally, Ms. Frawley described her work providing medical care to refugees on the MOAS, an offshore aid station in the Mediterranean.

In a first for our chapter, the conversation was live-streamed on YouTube. If you’re interested in learning more, you can watch an archive of the stream here.

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