Volunteers Bring Care, Comfort and Shelter
On August 3, disaster struck the residents of Cianci Street in Paterson, New Jersey. A devastating fire destroyed several homes, leaving at least 50 people displaced. Melanie Rolan, along with her mother and brother, were among those who were forced to flee their homes.
“It’s upsetting to lose everything. We couldn’t salvage a thing,” said Rolan. “But we’re here and we’re grateful to the Red Cross for their help.”
The Rolans, and 46 people from 12 other families, were assisted by the American Red Cross with emergency hotel lodging at a nearby hotel. Before COVID-19, the Red Cross would work with community partners to set up a shelter for families affected by disasters in a community school or other large facility. However, during this pandemic, the Red Cross response looks a bit different.
Following CDC guidance, we’ve created new protocols to help keep everyone safe in this environment. To ensure people can shelter safely, the Red Cross makes use of individual hotels or incorporates dormitory-style rooms. The families from the Paterson fire have stayed several nights at the hotel and are meeting with Red Cross caseworkers and other community partner organizations for further assistance and referrals to help with their next steps of recovery.
Because everyone’s wellbeing is the top priority, the Red Cross continues to work closely with public health officials to deliver services safely and coordinate efforts with government agencies and partners. During this uncertain time, Red Cross services may look different but the compassion and willingness to bring care and comfort to those affected by disasters remains.
HOW YOU CAN HELP This is the time to take care of one another. Join us:
Give Blood: Please make an appointment to donate 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 during the coronavirus pandemic and an expected busy hurricane season. Visit redcross.org/volunteer for opportunities, including supporting blood donations and providing help from home.