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Happiness in Hopatcong, New Jersey

Sandy
This is my first time in a Red Cross shelter. The volunteers have been just great with everything. I thank the Lord that they’re here

Story and Photo: Julie Daigle/American Red Cross Volunteer

Ninety-year-old Irene Dunn weathered Hurricane Sandy from her Landing, NJ home. Thankfully Irene’s house was spared from countless trees strewn over power lines, houses and roads. Despite not having power after the storm, Irene stayed at home for a few more days. But as the temperatures continued to drop, the house became too cold and Irene sought warmth at the Red Cross shelter in Hopatcong, NJ.

The Red Cross shelter has been Irene’s home for more than 10 days. “We’ve become family here in the shelter. The Red Cross volunteers are treating us with love and are looking after us. They’re helping us with everything we needed.”

Fellow shelter residents Milagros Colon and Helen Verdi are longtime friends who hadn’t seen each other in some time until they reunited at the shelter. After a tree fell through the roof of her Hopatcong home and the accompanying rain soaked everything in the top floor of her home, Milagros headed to the Red Cross shelter. Twelve days after the storm, the tree still sits atop her house. Milagros said that that a warm place to sleep, hot showers and three meals a day have given her great comfort. It was evident that sitting with her old friend also helped.

Helen Verdi didn’t know what to expect as they headed to the Red Cross shelter. Helen said, “This is my first time in a Red Cross shelter. The volunteers have been just great with everything. They check on me at night and I feel safe. I thank the Lord that they’re here.”

See more photos at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/87969009@N04/

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