National Volunteer Week is April 12-18 and the American Red Cross North Jersey Region is recognizing its volunteers who give their time to help those in need.
“Volunteers are the heart of the American Red Cross,” said Mathieu Nelessen, regional CEO, American Red Cross North Jersey Region. “Whether it’s providing comfort and emergency assistance to a family displaced by a home fire, visiting an ill or injured service member or veteran, or supporting blood drives – they help us fulfill our lifesaving mission and we are overwhelmed with gratitude for their service.”
Last year, the Red Cross North Jersey Region’s network of more than 3,330 volunteers provided food, shelter, comfort and hope to 1,130 local families affected by home fires and other emergencies. They trained 60,441 people in lifesaving skills and provided 1,877 services to military members, veterans and their families.
“We want to take this time during Volunteer Week to thank our volunteers for their remarkable service and acknowledge the wonderful work they do every day,” said Nelessen.
VOLUNTEER STORIES Red Cross North Jersey Region volunteers are out in the community daily helping their neighbors in need and delivering Red Cross programs and services in a number of ways.
Margie McCord By day Margie can be found at the Red Cross Jersey City office helping to ensure the office’s administrative needs are met, by night she helps families affected by home fires and other disasters. As a Disaster Action Team (DAT) Lead, Margie is ready to respond at a moment’s notice to provide comfort, emotional support and Red Cross emergency assistance to families in need. In addition to her work on the DAT, Margie also serves as a volunteer coordinator, helps out at blood drives and assists with community outreach.
Hart Coven In his role as the North Jersey Region’s preparedness volunteer partner, Hart Coven has helped strategize the region’s preparedness goals and continues to work to grow the region’s preparedness objectives. In addition to supporting preparedness initiatives, Hart serves on the Disaster Action Team bringing much-needed comfort and emergency assistance to those in need. Following an apartment fire in Orange, NJ, Hart helped deliver supplies to a shelter that served more than 100 displaced residents. Hart and his fellow Disaster Action Team members are always ready and willing to lend a helping hand.
Marv Goodman In his role as community partner services lead, Marv Goodman works to help build and maintain strong partnerships with agencies and organizations across the North Jersey Region. Additionally, Marv is always looking to help bring a smile to the faces of those affected by disasters. During the holiday season, Marv and a team of volunteers dressed as Santa and Elves went home-to-home delivering toys and gifts to Central New Jersey children who experience recent home fires. The gifts help fulfill the children's holiday wish lists and were provided by generous donors.
Tommy and Carmella Ditmars Often found at community events across the North Jersey Region, Carmella and Tommy strive to help New Jerseyans become better prepared for disasters. They have a flair for getting children excited about disaster preparedness. At a local Boy Scouts of America Annual Emergency Preparedness Cubarama, the duo lead a team of volunteers who taught more than 250 scouts and their families about fire safety and disaster preparedness. The scouts’ faces lit up as the Ditmars showed them the features of the Emergency Response Vehicle prototype and taught them about Red Cross disaster response. The Ditmars have also been avid supporters of The Pillowcase Project, teaching children how they can help their family prepare for emergencies and disasters.
Edison Red Cross Club From blood drives to visiting veterans to teaching elementary school students about disaster preparedness, the Edison Red Cross club is committed to serving all Red Cross lines of service. The club has also been a key supporter of the Red Cross Home Fire Preparedness Campaign. Club members joined other volunteers and went door-to-door in fire affected neighborhoods of Perth Amboy, NJ talking to families about fire safety and encouraging them to check the batteries in their smoke alarms and practice a fire escape plan. The club members are motivated to bring important fire safety information to as many families as possible.
Tish Corvino Service to the Armed Forces volunteer Tish Corvino is a regular at the East Orange VA Hospital where she organizes programs and events for the veterans. During the summer, Tish helped lead a group of volunteers who provided encouragement and support to veterans training for the 34th National Veterans Wheelchair Games held during August in Philadelphia. Tish attended the veterans’ semi-weekly training sessions where, under the supervision of the hospital’s recreation therapist, she and her fellow volunteers assisted veterans by adjusting workout equipment, helping them left weights and cheering them on.
JOIN US! It is through the time and care of ordinary people that extraordinary things can be accomplished. The Red Cross is always looking for people with various backgrounds, talents and skill levels and is inviting members of the community to become volunteers.
There are many ways people can get involved, including participating in the Red Cross Home Fire Preparedness Campaign. Volunteers are going door-to-door in neighborhoods at high risk for home fires to install smoke alarms and teach people about home fire safety.
To learn more about Red Cross volunteer opportunities in New Jersey or to register as a volunteer, visit redcross.org.