Monday, October 18, 2010

"I didn't know the Red Cross did so much."

Anita Cruz and her son Adrian
Anita Cruz and her 22-year-old son, Adrian, were about to sit down to dinner in their Bronx apartment when some of the lights went out. Then, they noticed a strange smell. After checking the electrical outlets and finding nothing, they saw smoke above a skylight in the hallway, alerted the neighbors and called 911.

Firefighters soon arrived, but also had difficulty finding the source of the smoke. To do so, they used chainsaws to break open the roof and ceiling of the apartment’s rooms (Anita and Adrian lived on the top floor). They finally discovered that the smoke had come from faulty electrical fixture in the kitchen ceiling. “In the end,” Anita said, “everything was destroyed,” making the apartment where she had lived for 27 years “unlivable.”

The Red Cross arrived at the scene to help, offering to arrange temporary housing for Anita, who decided to stay with her brother. But they referred Anita to different agencies and gave her valuable information about her legal rights as a tenant. She was grateful for all the “little details” she hadn’t know about, which helped to ease her difficult situation. The Red Cross also gave Anita and Adrian emergency financial assistance for food and clothing.

Anita said, “I think the Red Cross is great. I had not personally seen them in action until now. I’ve seen them in action when it comes to big disasters, but not smaller ones. I didn’t know how much they can help. Now that I do, I will definitely tell others.”

Anita Cruz from Bronx, NY

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