Photo: One of the younger residents who lost his home takes a nap at the Red Cross shelter
When a four-alarm fire ravaged three buildings in Yonkers on September 16, a beautiful Sunday afternoon, displacing 26 people, a group of dedicated Red Cross volunteers quickly mobilized. Within an hour Red Cross volunteers, including mental health professionals as well as mass care (feeding) and disaster assessment volunteers, were on the scene. Working closely with our community partner, the Yonkers Office of Emergency Management, a reception center was opened at a local church to provide a safe haven for affected residents.
The need for an overnight shelter was quickly recognized and work began to ready the Police Athletic League (PAL) in Yonkers. Overnight, the Red Cross shelter at PAL, housed 19 people. Red Cross volunteers provided the families with the comfort and critical information necessary to start back on the road to recovery. Within 24 hours the residents were working with community agencies to find new homes and the way forward.
One mother of two said, “If the Red Cross hadn’t been here, my children and I would have been homeless. Thank you all for what you do.”
More than 25 Red Cross volunteers worked around the clock to help their neighbors in need.