During the coronavirus pandemic, emergencies don’t stop — and neither does the work of the American Red Cross.
People still rely on us to help prevent and alleviate their suffering, and we’re grateful to our volunteers and employees working tirelessly to support those we serve, as well as to our generous donors who make the Red Cross mission possible.
Because everyone’s wellbeing is our top priority, we continue to work closely with public health officials to deliver our services safely and coordinate our efforts with our government agencies and partners in New Jersey.
GIVING COMFORT AND SUPPORT AFTER HOME FIRES As we continue to follow the stay-at-home order in New Jersey, the risk of home fires hasn’t gone away. Since March, volunteer members with our disaster action team have responded to more than 140 disasters in New Jersey, mostly home fires, and have helped more than 1,000 people in 310 families with emergency assistance.
To help keep everyone safe and follow social distancing guidelines, Red Cross volunteers are working with our local fire departments to connect with affected families by phone or video calls, offering a sympathetic ear and learning the families’ immediate needs. Our volunteers then link the families to available support, such as providing hotel stays and emergency financial assistance.
Preparing for Large-Scale Disasters As we adapt our physical response due to COVID-19, we have been providing overnight stays in emergency hotel lodging rather than opening traditional shelters for large home fires affecting multiple families. We’re also working with state officials on our COVID-19 plans to respond as needed to any threats of flooding, severe storms, and an above-normal hurricane season forecast for this year. We want everyone to receive help as quickly as possible, and that’s why the generosity of donors who provide support before crises happen is critical to ensure we have resources to mobilize at a moment’s notice.
A COMMUNITY EFFORT IN NEW JERSEY VIEW PHOTOS
Craft Distillers Step Forward to Help When the coronavirus pandemic began to evolve and hand sanitizer disappeared off store shelves just as fast as toilet paper, New Jersey craft distillers stepped up in a big way to help by shifting their production from spirits to sanitizer. Many of our craft distillers throughout the state collectively donated a generous amount of the germ-killing sanitizer to the American Red Cross New Jersey Region. This sanitizer has allowed our Red Cross disaster workers and other volunteers to be safer as they perform mission-related services and continue to respond to local disasters like home fires every day.
Showing Support for Healthcare Heroes Volunteers have been providing snacks, beverages and heartfelt thanks to nurses and other healthcare workers at some of the long-term care facilities in New Jersey. Also, at the request of state officials, the Red Cross has been supporting the members of the workforce at the COVID-19 testing site in Bergen County by serving snacks and beverages, as well as meals provided by our partners. New Jersey volunteers have also been supporting NYC Healthcare Heroes, launched by Debra and Leon Black, Aramark, and others to provide shelf-stable meals, household supplies and health products to more than 100,000 healthcare workers during the coronavirus pandemic. Red Cross volunteers from both New Jersey and New York have been helping assemble these care packages with Aramark at their warehouse in North Bergen.
Helping Maintain the Blood Supply Thanks to the many who came out in New Jersey to donate blood and those who have scheduled upcoming appointments, the Red Cross has been able to meet immediate patient needs. During this uncertain time, we encourage people to keep scheduled appointments and make new ones for the weeks ahead to ensure a stable supply throughout this pandemic for patients relying on lifesaving blood transfusions. We also want to thank all who are hosting blood drives, like the YMCAs that opened their facilities solely to hold blood drives to help after hundreds of drives were cancelled.
Have You Recovered from COVID-19? People who have fully recovered from COVID-19 have antibodies in their plasma that may help attack the virus. The Red Cross is helping to identify prospective donors and manage the distribution of donated convalescent plasma to hospitals treating patients in need. If you're fully recovered from a verified coronavirus (COVID-19) diagnosis, please visit RedCrossBlood.org/plasma4covid to learn more and help current patients who are seriously ill. Please be patient since many in our area are registering to donate. We’ll need you in the weeks and months to come. All blood donations are by appointment only.
Providing Support to Military Families and Veterans Our support sending emergency messages between deployed service members and loved ones at home continues. In addition to providing online stress-relieving workshops, our Service to the Armed Forces (SAF) team is supporting veterans, military service members and military family members during this challenging time with distribution of comfort and care packages, thanks to donations from The Christmas Tree Shops. SAF volunteers have assembled and distributed 1,100 comfort and care packages to veterans throughout the state and 770 to service members in quarantine at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst.
Training People with Lifesaving Skills We continue to provide COVID-19 safety tips and online courses, including our new free Mental Health First Aid for COVID-19 course to help you manage stress while caring for yourself and supporting your family and coworkers. In order to support critical health care and essential workforce needs for training in resuscitation, CPR and first aid, courses are offered, where permitted, with social distancing approaches and follow public health guidance. Provisional certification courses are also available. To help those who are currently certified, we are now offering a free online-only 120-day extension course.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Give Blood: Please make an appointment to donate in the weeks ahead, if you are healthy and feeling well, by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
Donate: Support all of the urgent humanitarian needs of the American Red Cross by donating to Where It Is Needed Most at redcross.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). A donation of any size makes a difference.
Volunteer: Our need for volunteers is constant and continues to evolve as we navigate this health crisis. Visit redcross.org/volunteer for opportunities, including supporting blood donations and providing help from home.