Even though it’s what we do everyday around the world, those of us at the American Red Cross never cease to
be amazed at the generosity and compassion that our friends and neighbors show to those in need.
Last weekend was a terrific example.
We were all in the Hurricane’s path and many of us had our own burdens to bear from Irene’s wrath. The
response from our shelter site personnel, sister emergency response agencies, area hospitals, local and state
government, community and civic groups, international response affiliates, media, volunteer response teams,
college student volunteers, and individual spontaneous volunteers was overwhelming and heartwarming to all
As was the remarkable generosity of people from all walks of life who made in-kind contributions of
everything from food and clothing to toiletries and toys.
In Gloucester and Salem counties, the American Red Cross sheltered more than 1,300 Hurricane Irene
evacuees at 4 different locations and there were 37 Red Cross shelters statewide with more than 15,000
Our shelter clients had been forced from their homes with little notice... and no idea of when they might be
able to return. Or what they would find when they did. Some were disabled. Others were suffering from
chronic illnesses. Many were senior citizens and even more were young children.
Thanks to your generosity and caring, each was welcomed to a safe, secure place. Each was given a cot, a
blanket, food, and access to toilet facilities. In fact, across the state, more than 200 volunteers served more than
75,000 meals and distributed more than 15,000 comfort (toiletry/personal hygiene) kits during the first three
days (8/26/11 - 8/28/11).
The residents of Gloucester and Salem Counties — professional and volunteer — have stood side by side,
providing both immediate disaster response assistance and ongoing recovery efforts that, unfortunately,
When many residents had no where else to turn but to shelters of last resort, you were there.
And you were great!