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Red Cross Talks About How People Can Help in Wake of Sandy

volunteer carries water for hurricane sandy victims
How can I help the people affected by Superstorm Sandy? Here are some of the most frequently asked questions and answers from the American Red Cross.

Residents in PA want to know: How can I help the people affected by Superstorm Sandy? Here are some of the most frequently asked questions and answers from the American Red Cross.

How can I help?

This will be a large, costly relief response across several states. The best way to help is to make a financial donation. You can do so by visiting, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. People can also send contributions to their local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.

Does my donation really help? What will it be used for?

The donations we receive for Red Cross Disaster Relief are put to good use. It’s important to know that An average of 91 cents of every dollar the American Red Cross spends is invested in humanitarian services and programs. Any donation, large or small, will help. For example, $3 can provide a comfort kit containing personal hygiene items for someone in a disaster; $6 can cover the cost of a blanket; and $10 the cost of a hot meal. A $50 donation can cover the cost of food and shelter for a day, including three meals, blankets, comfort kits and the Red Cross expense of mobilizing them to the disaster area. For $150, someone’s donation can cover the cost of providing food and shelter to a family of four for a day they spend in a shelter.

Will my donation go to help people affected by Sandy?

Your support helps the Red Cross prepare for and respond to disasters like Hurricane Sandy and the nearly 70,000 disasters that we respond to every year. With your help, we can provide services such as food, shelter and emotional support to those impacted by any disaster in the United States.

I want to hold a fundraiser for the Red Cross. What do I need to do?

Grassroots fundraising events are always appreciated. Please contact your local Red Cross to advise Red Cross fundraising personnel of your event so that they can be sure you have the materials you need to conduct your fundraiser. You will be asked to sign an agreement that protects you, your contributors and the Red Cross.

Why won’t the Red Cross take small quantities of donated goods?

After a disaster, financial donations are the quickest and best way to help people who need it most. The Red Cross isn’t equipped to handle a large influx of donations like household items, clothing or food that may or may not be useful to victims. It takes time and money to sort, process, transport and then distribute donated items — whereas financial donations can be accessed quickly and put to use right away.

Plus, financial donations allow us to be flexible in the help that we provide and ensures we can provide what people need most. As an added benefit, financial donations allow the Red Cross and disaster victims to purchase items locally, stimulating the economy of the disaster affected area. Even a small financial donation can go further than you might think. For instance, $2 can provide a snack to a child who just lost their home and $10 can provide a hot meal to that same child.

Where can I make a non-cash donation?

If you’d like to donate food items, the Red Cross recommends contacting your local food bank. To donate clothing or household items, we suggest visiting for a list of organizations that accept these types of donations.

Alternatively, consider selling your items on eBay Giving Works, or another site, and donate the proceeds to an established disaster relief organization, like the Red Cross, serving the affected area.

How can I become a Red Cross volunteer?

Red Cross disaster volunteers are needed in our community year-round, for mammoth disasters like Sandy, local residential fires, and other emergencies. Our community relies on Red Cross to be there 24/7. Training for disaster workers is provided free.

Volunteers of all ages and abilities are needed in areas such as blood services, health and safety training, office support, special events and other chapter-specific projects.

To become a registered volunteer, visit and click “Ways to Help” to complete an online application; or call your local Red Cross.

What else can I do?

Give blood. The storm has already caused the cancellation of hundreds of Red Cross blood drives in the region. This has resulted in the loss of several hundred units of blood and platelets so far. To schedule a blood donation or get more information about giving blood, people can visit or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

For other questions, please contact your local Red Cross.

The American Red Cross serving Central Pennsylvania provides services in Adams, Bedford, Blair, Centre, Clinton, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Fulton, Huntingdon, Juniata, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lycoming, Mifflin, Northumberland, Perry, Snyder, Tioga, Union & York Counties in central Pennsylvania. For a complete list of offices of the American Red Cross serving Central Pennsylvania, please click here.