NEWTOWN, December 17, 2012 – Since the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, the American Red Cross has provided food, water, emotional support and other services to the affected families and emergency responders.
“We are deeply saddened by this terrible event and our hearts are with the affected families,” said American Red Cross Regional CEO Mario Bruno. “The Red Cross is working closely with local and state government officials to assure that we are providing the right types of support, where and when they are needed.”
Since the shooting on Friday, the Red Cross has mobilized several response vehicles and more than 160 trained workers – most of them volunteers -- who have served more than 15,600 meals and snacks in Newtown. Sunday night, Red Cross workers handed out nearly 1,000 blankets, hot coffee and more than 1,200 stuffed animals at the Newtown High School where hundreds of residents waited outside in a cold rain to participate in an interfaith vigil. Red Cross mental health workers were available to offer support – sometimes as a compassionate listener and sometimes to simply hold someone’s hand.
The Red Cross is supporting a grief counseling center for the public and working with state government and local partners to support affected families through activities such as connecting families with resources like mental health services.
“A heartbreaking event like this affects not only the family and friends of the victims, but the entire community, and we encourage residents to take a moment to protect their own emotional health by connecting with and supporting each other,” said Bruno.
Parents should let children talk about their fears and then reassure them about their safety. This is a time where people should take care of themselves and their families. For example, reach out to others to both offer and receive support. People should also be careful not to overexpose themselves to media reports about the tragedy. More detailed information on emotional recovery is available at http://www.redcross.org/find-help/disaster-recovery/recovering-emotionally.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.