As the year closes out, Red Cross volunteers stand ready to assist Massachusetts residents in the event of power loss due to today’s Nor’easter, which is forecasted to dump as much as 12 inches of snow in central and western Massachusetts. If needed, shelters will open in various parts of the state to support local needs in the event severe weather impacts citizens.
It’s been a busy year for Red Cross volunteers in Massachusetts. Home fires brought much of the headlines for the Red Cross this past year, as we opened two large shelters for several days in both Lawrence and Cambridge after devastating home fires impacted 60 residents in Lawrence and over 100 in Cambridge.
Through both large and small disasters, many of them home fires, the American Red Cross of Massachusetts assisted more than 1,400 families, distributing nearly $900,000 in direct financial assistance to Massachusetts residents. This money enabled families to make those first steps back to a sense of normalcy after many lost everything in home fires.
The American Red Cross Home Fire Campaign works in tandem with our disaster assistance program. Last year partners and volunteers installed more than 6,000 smoke detectors in Massachusetts homes, making more than 1,000 homes safer. The campaign runs through 2020, and nationally aims to reduce home fire deaths by 25 percent.
Volunteers at our Food Pantry in Boston assisted more than 160,000 local residents through outreach at our pantry and through mobile food distribution which occurs throughout the state. This assistance is designed to allow low income residents to focus more of their finances on education and basic needs for their families.
Volunteers also assisted veterans at area VA medical centers, providing supplies to help comfort them as they spend time obtaining medical care. We also assisted active duty, reserve and guard members and their families at events such as the Hanscom Air Force Base Turkey Drop. By providing turkeys and other food items, the men and women of our armed services were able to enjoy the holidays while away from family.
Every eight minutes, the American Red Cross brings help and hope to someone in need in this country. If you’d like to support our efforts in Massachusetts, please go to redcross.org/Massachusetts to volunteer your time or make a financial contribution. Your time and donations go directly to assist in your local community.
We here at the American Red Cross of Massachusetts wish all of you a Happy New Year!