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Amid Busy Year for Disasters, Thousands Turn to Greater NY Red Cross for Help

Thousands Turn to Greater NY Red Cross for Help
Without the Red Cross, this would’ve been a much more traumatic event

NEW YORK, December 17, 2015—Over the past 12 months, from New York City to Nepal, the Greater NY Red Cross has provided urgent support to thousands of families and communities in need.

“Every day, dedicated and trained Red Cross staff and volunteers bring our mission to alleviate and prevent human suffering in the face of emergencies to New Yorkers in need,” said Josh Lockwood, regional CEO of the American Red Cross in Greater New York. “From home fires to larger disasters to supporting the Red Cross’ mission around the world, we are grateful for the support and commitment of our volunteers and generous donors.”

Since January 1, 2015, the organization has provided emergency relief following more than 2,300 disasters across the Greater New York region, which includes New York City, Long Island and the Lower Hudson Valley.

This includes large-scale incidents such as the fatal building explosion in the East Village last March that left hundreds homeless, as well as smaller disasters like the single-family home fire on 56th Street in Brooklyn that recently forced three individuals from their home in the middle of the night.

Damian Stapelkamp from Staten Island and his mother were among the thousands of New Yorkers who turned to the Red Cross this year for temporary housing, food, blankets, emergency financial assistance, cleanup supplies, heath/emotional support and/or referrals following a disaster. Last week, the two lost their West Brighton home and nearly all of their possessions to a house fire.

“You’re sitting there and you’re watching everything you own burn, and there are people there saying ‘Look, we have stuff for you, we’re here for you, we’re going to help you,’” Stapelcamp described the Red Cross response in a recent interview. “The fact that they were prepared to make sure you’re taken care of, it was great…Without the Red Cross, this would’ve been a much more traumatic event.”

Along with responding to local disasters, volunteers and staff from the Greater NY Red Cross were asked to lend a hand across the country and around the world. Since January, Red Cross employees and volunteers have supported disaster relief operations in South Carolina, Texas, Oklahoma, Saipan and Nepal.

One group of volunteers, active and retired FDNY firefighters who make up the Red Cross Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART), were deployed twice to support relief operations after extreme weather outbreaks in South Carolina and Oklahoma.

“We help people for a living,” said Doug Bainton, NYC firefighter and leader of the DART team. “This is just another way of doing it.”

Beyond disaster response, the Red Cross helped make our communities safer and more resilient by installing free smoke alarms in thousands of area homes; by teaching health and safety skills like CPR, water safety and first aid; and by empowering local families with vital disaster preparedness skills. The Red Cross also collected lifesaving blood and supported our brave service members and their families.