Over the past year, communities across Texas have been forced to cope with multiple extreme weather events. Most recently, the city of Houston was hit with historic flooding that devastated entire communities and left thousands homeless. As they have following every one of these Texas disasters, the American Red Cross has been on the ground helping in Houston, providing shelter, meals, relief supplies and other vital relief to those who need it most. Working alongside their fellow colleagues from across the country are volunteers from right here in Greater New York.
Answering the call, eight members of the Greater Red Cross Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) were deployed to Texas last week to assist with the response. Created in 1989, the DART program is a partnership between the FDNY and the American Red Cross in Greater New York made up of active and retired firefighters and fire officers who generously volunteer their knowledge, experience and compassion to help those affected by disaster.
“This partnership really means a lot to us,” said team leader Doug Bainton prior to deploying. “We all love helping people, we do it for a living, and we get to do it as a volunteer as well, it’s extremely fulfilling. We just can’t wait to get down there and get the job done.”
In addition to DART, volunteers Debbie Hayden (Health Services, Long Island), Mary Farrell (Health Services, Long Island), Maria Milan (Logistics, Long Island), Sal Montoro (Shelter Management, Long Island) and Lilliam Rivera-Cruz (Case Management, New York City) have each brought their own respective expertise to the relief effort in Texas. More New Yorkers could be deployed in the days that follow. Together they join more than 1000 Red Cross volunteers who are working day and night to help offer relief and comfort following the devastating floods.
“I do this for me and my family,” says Montoro. “I do this to remind others that we as people need to help others when we can.”
Along with these dedicated individuals, the Greater New York Red Cross is also helping the people of Houston from right here in their own back yard. Staffed by local volunteers, the Red Cross has set up a call center at their Hell’s Kitchen Headquarters to receive calls routed from response team in Texas.
This effort reflects the power of the Red Cross mission to bring people together from all walks of life to help others in their time of need.
For more info, check out a video of DART team leader Doug Bainton where he talks about DART and their Texas deployment.
HOW YOU CAN HELP The Red Cross needs the public’s help now. They can give to Red Cross Disaster Relief to support disasters big and small by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations to Disaster Relief will be used to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small.