It has been two years since Superstorm Sandy made landfall, devastating communities in the Northeast. In the aftermath, the American Red Cross has helped tens of thousands of people get back on their feet. Recovery from such a massive storm is a long and difficult process for many families, but the Red Cross has been there from the very beginning, and we are still there today.
New Jersey: Every Step of the Way
The north end of the barrier reef islands in New Jersey, where Janet Connotillo lived with her husband and elderly mother, was underwater for five days following Superstorm Sandy in 2012. Forced to move to a rental due to the damage to her home, Connotillo was grateful for the support of the Red Cross.
“They were the first ones to call me and ask what I needed,” she said.
The Red Cross sent her money to replace damaged items – toasters, coffee makers, and other day-to-day items. But, stuck in a rental, Connotillo told the Red Cross what she really needed was wood, drywall, and a new front door for her damaged home. She will never forget the kind Red Cross workers who told her they understood and would be there to assist her as she recovered.
“The money I received initially from the Red Cross was what helped me start to rebuild my home,” said Connotillo.
After a few months finally back in their home, Connotillo and her family discovered the water had risen so high it had damaged the home’s electrical systems and the new heaters which had just been installed had stopped working. They found themselves back in a rental, unsure where to turn.
“Lo and behold someone from the Red Cross called and said let me reevaluate your case and it was like an angel appeared,” Connotillo said. “The Red Cross came through to relieve some of our debt and allow us to move forward with our house.”
Although it’s been a long journey, the Connotillos are immensely thankful to the Red Cross for their support in the many steps along the way.
“The Red Cross realizes the aftermath doesn’t just stop when you write a check,” she said. “They stay with you until you are fully recovered.”
Read the full story.
New York: Returning Home
In New York, Red Cross staff have worked hand-in-hand with nonprofit and government partners to help meet ongoing challenges and needs—family by family, neighbor by neighbor. On Staten Island, Sandy flooded the two-bedroom bungalow of John and Laura Auer.
“When my husband and son dragged me out, the water was up to my chest,” said Laura Auer. “When it was all said and done it was way over my head.”
The Auer family met with Red Cross disaster worker Chris Losavio who promised to keep working until they found the help they needed. The Red Cross, in partnership with the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation and New York Disaster Interfaith Services, assisted the family both in making necessary repairs and in purchasing new furniture and appliances enabling them to return home in June 2014. Losavio also organized his Red Cross co-workers, who volunteered their own time to work with Tunnel to Towers on the needed repairs.
“If it wasn’t for Chris, I would not be home,” said Auer.
For the Auers and thousands of other families with uncovered housing-related expenses, the Red Cross Move-In Assistance Program served as a vital bridge in relocating from hotels to sustainable housing or completing repairs on their Sandy-damaged homes.
Read the full story.
Sandy Response: A Special Thanks
Take a minute to read a special thanks to our volunteers, employees and donors during Sandy.
The Red Cross has spent or made commitments to spend more than $310 million, or 99 percent of the $311.5 million donated for its Sandy response and recovery work. The two-year report and other information on the Red Cross Sandy relief and recovery efforts can be found at www.redcross.org/sandy-response.