Young Volunteers Respond to Hurricane Sandy

Youth Volunteers
Members of the Red Cross Club wanted to help our neighbors when we were all struggling.

The American Red Cross relies on the power of volunteers to provide shelter, food, comfort and hope to people affected by a disaster. Volunteers include many youth and young adults living along the Atlantic Seaboard who rallied to help after Hurricane Sandy.

Red Cross Club members at Brooklyn’s James Madison High School spent a weekend helping clean up storm debris in the neighborhood surrounding their school. Boy Scouts in Troop 35 in Greenwich, Conn., unloaded emergency response vehicles, while some of their sisters sewed Red Cross patches on stuffed monkeys going to children affected by the storm.

At Berkeley Heights, N.J., the Youth Soccer Club U12 Girls Teams raised $1,450 for the Red Cross Disaster Fund. A bake sale sponsored by the New York University Collegiate Club in Lower Manhattan raised another $288.

Members of the St. Joseph’s Collegiate Club on Long Island held a “Sign a Cross” fundraiser. Students paid $2 to sign a paper banner with the Red Cross on it; banners soon crisscrossed the cafeteria. During the campus club’s Fall Fest they handed out mini first-aid kits and club information, as well as selling “Sign the Cross” banners.

Mamaroneck High School Red Cross Club

“Members of the Red Cross Club wanted to help our neighbors when we were all struggling,” said Eli Russ, president of the Mamaroneck club. With a hurricane whirling and power out in half the residences in this Hudson Valley town, 26 club members found a way to get to the shelter to serve.

They set up 100 cots 36 hours before the storm was projected to hit. When overnight clients started arriving, students greeted them and helped them register. Spanish-speaking club members served as translators at the registration table. Students worked at the shelter for the two-and-a-half days it was opened. Two days later when a nor’easter left several inches of snow behind, club members came out again, helping to staff a Red Cross warming center. And then they helped pack it up.

East Carolina University Collegiate Club

Further south in Greenville, N.C., Taylor Waters, president of the East Carolina University Collegiate Club, is raising disaster funds. The Red Cross Club, in partnership with campus fraternity FIGI, sold raffle tickets. Fifty percent of the proceeds went to the Red Cross Disaster Fund and 50 percent to the raffle winner, who, in turn, gave that half to Sandy relief efforts. The club is also mentoring a class of fifth graders, helping them sponsor an elementary school fundraiser for people affected by Hurricane Sandy.

Waters has been a Red Cross volunteer since high school. She started when her grandmother’s house burned down. “I saw the financial and emotional help the Red Cross gave my grandmother,” Waters says, “I wanted to be that help for somebody else.”

Become a Red Cross Youth Volunteer

Join us! You will have scores of opportunities to serve your community, connect with the largest humanitarian network in the world and build life-long friendships. Contact your local Red Cross to learn about volunteer opportunities in your community.

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.