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One year ago: Red Cross shelters hundreds during blizzard

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We provided hot meals and snacks, and offered supplies and comfort to people in need.

Feb. 8, 2013 -- an historic blizzard called Winter Storm Nemo by meteorologists pounded the northeast, wreaking great havoc along the coast of Massachusetts.

Thirty-six inches of heavy snow left hundreds of thousands without power in below freezing temperatures. Thousands of Massachusetts residents had no choice but to evacuate, with more than 800 cold and hungry Bay Staters relying on Red Cross shelters for safety - some for as long as a week.

With the help of our donors, more than 200 trained volunteers from the American Red Cross of Massachusetts delivered life-saving services to more than 30,000 people at our 15 shelters across southeastern Massachusetts and Cape Cod.

We provided hot meals and snacks, and offered supplies and comfort to people in need. For those who lost contact with their families due to power outages, our shelters offered stations where they could leave messages for loved ones on the “Safe and Well” section of our website. Red Cross staff and volunteers organized a bulk distribution system and delivered over 1,400 items such as clean-up kits and masks to people along the coast whose homes flooded from the Nor’easter.

This winter, we are once again faced with harsh weather and bitter cold. Of course, the potential for another Nor’easter is ever present, and the Red Cross stands ready to assist. But the bitter cold we have experienced has also resulted in an increase in house fires. In just the two months since December 2013, we’ve responded to 147 fires across Massachusetts, helping 276 families with their emergency needs.

These fires strike quickly and without warning, devastating lives and property. Trained Red Cross volunteers stand at the ready, any time of day or night, to provide food, shelter, financial and emotional support to those who lose their homes to fire.

In communities ravaged by harsh winter weather, your support helps ensure those affected are sheltered from the storm. Together we can help transform peoples' stories of pain, confusion and fear into stories of hope.

To learn more about your gift at work, or to make a donation, please visit our homepage at RedCross.Org/Massachusetts.

To learn about how you can volunteer and make a difference in our communities, visit RedCross.Org/MassachusettsVolunteer.