Red Cross disaster workers Robb and Edd Pavlick loaded up an Emergency Response Vehicle under sunny skies in Fairfield, New Jersey earlier this week and hit the road to lend a helping hand in communities in the Southeast where Hurricane Matthew unleashed intense winds, torrential rains and devastating flooding.
“I’m going to miss my family,” said Robb as he readied himself for the two-week trip, “but people in the Southeast need our help and we’re ready to give it.”
The father and son duo are joining more than 4,000 Red Cross disaster workers from across the country who are on the ground in affected states providing safe shelter, food and relief supplies to help people still suffering from Hurricane Matthew’s lingering effects.
With more than 40 years of Red Cross disaster experience between the two of them, Robb and Edd are veteran disaster responders who feel their training experience on other disasters had prepared them to help those impacted by Hurricane Matthew.
“It’s about people helping people,” said Edd who was drafted into the Red Cross by his son in 1999 during Hurricane Floyd. “It’s about being there for people in distress to help and to listen.”
The Red Cross’ widespread sheltering effort spans four states and has provided more overnight stays in shelters than after Superstorm Sandy. Thousands of people in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida woke up in Red Cross and community shelters this morning.
Edd and Rob are among 25 New Jersey Red Cross disaster workers who are lending a helping hand with Hurricane Matthew relief efforts across the Southeast. Patricia and David Williams of Alpine, Radhika Kasu of New Milford, Brian Otto of Phillipsburg, Elisa Thomas Donnelly of Teaneck, Sam Friedlander of Montclair, Kathy Wong of Florham Park, Ricardo Medrano of Union City, Joan Klimpl of Somerset, Mary Sterling of Freehold, Lynn Paul and Debbie Morowitz of Voorhees, Carol Lee Tieman of Ocean Grove, Paul and Louella Rose of Pleasantville, Carol Cohen of Pleasantville and Jim Eden of Margate City are working at shelters. Avinash Kachhy of Edison is helping with Disaster Services technology, and Matthew Steinkerchner of Kendall Park and Joe Bender of Martinsville are working with logistics. Clare Rybczynski of Branchburg, Ese Enyamuke of Newark and Barry Verbel of Somerset are working with feeding operations in the three Emergency Response Vehicles from the New Jersey Region that are in the Southeast to help with relief efforts. Additional Red Cross workers from New Jersey are expected to travel to the affected region in the coming weeks.
“We are grateful to our New Jersey volunteers who have stepped forward to help families devastated by Hurricane Matthew during this difficult time,” said Montero. “We are asking those who wish to help to please volunteer, donate blood and consider making a financial donation to the Red Cross today to support the people affected by this disaster.”
HOW TO HELP
MAKE A DONATION The Red Cross depends on donations to provide immediate relief. Help people affected by Hurricane Matthew by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word MATTHEW to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from this disaster. Learn more about the Red Cross response to Hurricane Matthew here.
VOLUNTEER The American Red Cross New Jersey Region is offering training for new volunteers who wish to deploy to the Southeast to help those affected by Hurricane Matthew. Volunteers are needed to fill a variety of roles including working at shelters, assisting with feeding operations, distributing relief supplies, working in a warehouse, loading/unloading supplies from trucks and recovery casework. Volunteers must be 18 years of age or older, in good general health and commit to a minimum of two weeks working in the Southeast. Training and travel-related expenses are covered by the Red Cross. Volunteer opportunities for virtual work, which allows volunteers to assist with the relief operation from here in New Jersey, are also available and include recovery casework. Visit redcross.org/NJ for more information and to register for training.
GIVE BLOOD, PLATELETS The Red Cross has an urgent need for blood and platelet donations. Since last week, Hurricane Matthew and its devastating aftermath have forced the cancellation of approximately 100 blood drives in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, resulting in more than 3,100 uncollected blood and platelet donations. Additional blood drive cancellations are possible in the Southeast as major flooding and power outages still affect many areas.
In particular, the need for platelet donations is critical right now. Platelets, a key clotting component of blood often needed by cancer patients, must be transfused within five days of donation and, therefore, are always in demand.
In parts of the country unaffected by the storm, the Red Cross needs eligible individuals to please give blood or platelets now to help ensure we have a readily available blood supply for patients in need. Even before the threat of Hurricane Matthew, there was an urgent need for donors of all blood types, especially type O. Appointments can be made by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).