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Sandy Volunteers Train to Assist With Red Cross Recovery Efforts

American Red Cross North Jersey Region
Funds donated for Sandy beyond what is used for relief and initial recovery to be used for longer-term needs of those affected.

Pictured: Volunteers participate during Disaster Services casework training session at American Red Cross New Jersey Crossroads in Summit on January 9, 2013.

After Superstorm Sandy hit the East Coast, hundreds of New Jerseyans stepped forward to assist the American Red Cross with relief efforts. They answered phones at call centers, loaded trucks at warehouses and helped distribute relief items throughout affected neighborhoods. These spontaneous volunteers joined thousands of trained Red Cross volunteers who came from all areas of the county and beyond to help the people of New Jersey.

Thanks to the dedicated work of all, especially our devoted Jersey volunteers, the Red Cross provided more than 4 million meals and snacks, distributed more than 1.6 million relief items, supported more than 34,000 shelter stays, and made more than 28,000 health and mental health visits to New Jersey residents affected by Sandy during the relief operation.

As the Red Cross moves towards longer-term recovery efforts for survivors, many new Sandy volunteers are participating in Disaster Services training sessions being held to help facilitate these efforts.

The Red Cross is working closely with government and other nonprofits as part of a comprehensive response to help Sandy survivors recover. An initial Red Cross recovery plan, developed in coordination with FEMA and other partners to identify and address unmet needs, has the Red Cross focusing its assistance first on three groups of people who have already been identified as needing aid:

• People in New York and New Jersey whose homes were destroyed and are in need of either repair assistance or longer-term rental housing;

• Those whose homes were destroyed in states which did not receive federal disaster money;

• People with demonstrated needs that exceed what can be met by insurance, FEMA and state resources.

In the initial recovery, the Red Cross will be working from lists provided by government such as red-tagged and destroyed homes, those needing aid and people in FEMA's transitional shelter program. No calls to the Red Cross are necessary. The Red Cross is calling clients to begin the casework process over the phone. It’s important that people in need register with FEMA by calling 1-800-621-3362.

Hurricane Sandy is the biggest U.S. disaster response by the Red Cross in more than five years, and the generous support of so many people and companies across the country have enabled the Red Cross to provide food, shelter, relief supplies and comfort to tens of thousands of people impacted by Sandy, especially in New York and New Jersey.

Sandy was a huge storm that spread over an area the size of Europe, and the Red Cross is part of a community of groups to respond that includes federal, state and local governments as well as many other nonprofit organizations.

As of January 7, the Red Cross has $235 million in donations and pledges for its Sandy response and has been using those funds to give help and hope for months already and will continue to do so. We estimate our relief operations have cost $110 million as of December 31 and these costs could go higher depending on the needs. We estimate that the initial recovery plan will cost about $60 million. Any funds donated for Sandy beyond what is used for emergency relief and this initial recovery plan will be used for longer-term needs of those affected by this disaster.

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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.