On February 25th, the American Red Cross of Central New Jersey hosted six delegates from the Red Cross Society of China, Jiangsu Provincial Branch. The group had requested the visit to the chapter as part of their 6-day trip to America. Their wish was to learn how we operate our Red Cross programs and services with a focus on Disaster Relief, Health and Safety training and Community Services. Jiangsu Province is relatively close to Shanghai, with proximity comparable to the distance between Princeton and New York City.
The Red Cross response and recovery efforts to Superstorm Sandy were highlighted with a trip to the Disaster Relief Operation Headquarters in North Brunswick. Job Director Glenn Lockwood provided an overview of the disaster relief operation and the group spent time listening to needs met with emotional support from members of the Disaster Mental Health Services team. The visitors were pleased as Glenn presented each with a Red Cross pin as a gift. But what impressed them most was the size of the operation and the number of volunteers from all parts of the country who are here in New Jersey helping Sandy survivors with recovery efforts.
The delegates then returned to the chapter in Princeton, where Chief Programs Officer Carol Chang presented an overview of regional operations. Briefings about our services were provided by Virginia Hogan (Disaster Services), Terri Illes (Service to the Armed Forces), Carol Chang (Community Services) and Joelle Piercy (Volunteer, Youth and Blood Services). The group also accompanied Meals on Wheels Program Coordinator Debbie Hoagland with meal deliveries to elderly members in the community.
Upon their return, the delegates delivered an overview of their operations with the Red Cross Society of China to a captive audience.
It was quite an enlightening day for all involved. We were honored to host such distinguished guests, who, in turn, invited us to visit them in China. We look forward to continuing this international relationship.
Special thanks to our wonderful volunteer translator, Jiang Chen, whose assistance was essential to the successful outcome of this important visit.
About the American Red Cross North Jersey Region:
The American Red Cross North Jersey Region provides programs and services throughout the counties of Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union and Warren, with a combined population of 5.7 million. The region trains and mobilizes 4,500 volunteers who support the delivery of services in the community. Last year, the Red Cross North Jersey Region responded to 419 local disasters, helping 929 families displaced by home fires; educated more than 15,000 community members about disaster preparedness; collected more than 28,500 units of blood through blood drives and Red Cross Blood Donation Centers; helped 844 military families send emergency messages, receive financial assistance, and get counseling and referrals; assisted 870 military members and their families facing deployment on how to access our services anywhere in the world; and trained 143,344 individuals with lifesaving skills in CPR, AED use, first aid and aquatics. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission.