Photo above: On a cold March afternoon, Brooklyn resident Margurie Batts receives a warm blanket and meal from the Red Cross at a Sandy relief hub in Coney Island.
Five months after Superstorm Sandy’s landfall, the American Red Cross continues to work with Sandy survivors to help them recover and rebuild. Thanks to generous donations from the American public and the commitment of dedicated volunteers, the Red Cross is able to provide food, emotional support and additional long-term assistance to thousands every day. The Red Cross will continue these efforts until its services are no longer needed.
Although most Sandy-affected residents are able to prepare their own meals, the financial strain the disaster has put on households has forced many to turn to local food banks and other emergency food providers for help. In New York City and on Long Island, the Red Cross is currently providing financial support to Food Bank For New York City and Island Harvest respectively, in order to bolster the number of meals available those affected by the storm. Residents who need food will be able to get groceries through a network of sites located in the hardest-hit areas.
To access meals, call:
New York City – Food Bank For New York City 212-894-8060
Nassau County – Island Harvest 516-294-8528
Suffolk County – Island Harvest 631-873-4775
As the need for emergency services declines, the Red Cross focus has shifted towards meeting the long-term needs of those affected by Sandy. FEMA and other government partners have prioritized needs in communities and have requested that the Red Cross focus its assistance on several groups of people who have already been identified as needing aid. They include:
• People in the affected areas whose houses were destroyed and who are now living in hotels and other temporary accommodations, and
•People whose homes are destroyed and have not had their needs met through insurance, FEMA or state resources.
This assistance could include a number of things, such as help with home repairs, rent, security deposits, furniture, utility deposits, connecting people with social service programs, helping them fill out paperwork for assistance or insurance claims, getting them counseling, identifying child care resources, helping them find new housing, or providing a connection to legal assistance if they are dealing with a landlord or contractor. The Red Cross can also help people find new programs for Sandy recovery.
Since the Red Cross will be given lists of people to contact for this assistance, it is important that residents register with FEMA. Those with questions about the program can contact the Red Cross at 877-733-2767.
In order to address water damage and treat mold in homes impacted by Superstorm Sandy, the Red Cross has partnered with the Robin Hood Foundation and the Mayor’s Fund to help support a remediation program that is administered by Neighborhood Revitalization NYC, a community development not-for-profit. Neighborhood Revitalization NYC coordinates mold treatment performed at no cost to the homeowner by private contractors and not-for-profit organizations.
Visit www.nyc.gov to learn more about this program.
Pro-Bono Financial Counseling
The Red Cross has also partnered with Operation Hope, America’s leading provider of economic tools and services to persons affected by disasters, to provide pro-bono financial counseling to Sandy victims.
Call 1-888-388-4673 or visit www.operationhope.org to learn more.
The Red Cross relies on thousands of volunteers to fulfill its humanitarian mission 365 days a year. Following Sandy, thousands more came forward to offer a helping hand to those affected by the storm. In addition to Red Cross programs that directly support the Sandy relief and recovery effort, the Red Cross has looked for new ways to engage its growing cadre of volunteers. To that end, the organization has partnered with New York Cares, New York City’s largest volunteer organization, to provide dozens of additional volunteer projects every month that support Sandy relief.
Assistance to Date
As of March 26, 2013, the Red Cross has:
• Served more than 17 million meals and snacks (more than 12 million in New York State alone)
• Provided more than 113,000 health services and emotional support contacts to people affected by Sandy who have been living in very tough conditions.
• Distributed more than 7 million relief items
• Mobilized a total of more than 17,000 trained workers who have rotated through to help. About 90 percent of them are volunteers from all over the country.
However long it takes, the Red Cross is committed to using the monies donated for Sandy to help those affected. More information on the Red Cross and its Sandy emergency relief and recovery efforts can be found at www.redcross.org/sandy-response.