The American Red Cross Gateway to the Golden State Region played an important role in Superstorm Sandy relief efforts over the past few months, sending 300 volunteers and six emergency response vehicles, more than any other Red Cross region in the country.
The Silicon Valley Chapter was up for the challenge to help, sending more than 71 volunteers since November, including one volunteer for three deployments. Volunteers helped with everything from shelter operations to logistics and driving emergency response vehicles.
Barbara Wood, a volunteer from Woodside, who has deployed to support the Red Cross on numerous other disasters, was ready to help.
Barbara deployed to provide client casework outreach in New Jersey, traveling to neighborhoods damaged in the storm and attempting to contact those who needed any type of help from the Red Cross or the local agencies we partner with.
One woman she helped was a widow in her 80s who was living alone and awoke in the middle of the night to the sound of water rushing down her street. A levee broke and her neighborhood, which had never flooded, was quickly inundated with 6- to 8-feet of water. She evacuated in a boat and spent a few days with relatives before returning to her home to clean up the mess.
The woman received a call from someone claiming to work for FEMA and asked for her social security number. She gave it and soon someone else was using her credit card.
Barbara spent less than an hour helping the woman contact a credit-reporting agency to notify them of the identity theft, and in the process, restoring some peace-of-mind.
Although she spent just a short time with the woman, Barbara said she still thought about the difference she made in the lives of that woman and the others she met in New Jersey, long after she returned home.
Superstorm Sandy is the largest U.S. response by the Red Cross in more than five years, and our emergency relief efforts for Sandy has continued for months, much longer than most other disasters. As of April 9, 2013, the Red Cross has: