NEW JERSEY, November 20, 2020 — Faced with a relentless disaster season including multiple major hurricanes and tropical storms in the south and devastating wildfires in much of the west, combined with daily responses to local home fires, thousands of Red Cross volunteers have been working tirelessly for months across the country to provide food, shelter and comfort to thousands of people in need.
“As the coronavirus pandemic wears on, disasters like massive hurricanes and wildfires, as well as devastating home fires here in New Jersey, have upended thousands of lives across the country,” said Rosie Taravella, CEO, American Red Cross New Jersey Region. “Through it all, our volunteers continue to step up to help others. We are extremely grateful for their compassion, especially during this pandemic. It’s a true testament to the humanitarian spirit of people in New Jersey.”
VOLUNTEERS ANSWER CALL TO HELP Since mid-August, the American Red Cross New Jersey Region has deployed nearly 70 disaster workers to help with large-scale disaster relief operations for the hurricanes and wildfires. New volunteers also stepped up at a pivotal time to fill mission-critical positions, such as shelter and health workers addressing urgent disaster needs. In addition, more than 50 disaster workers deployed virtually, handling roles for specific relief operations while physically remaining in New Jersey during their two-week deployment commitment.
Volunteers continue to aid people affected by home fires in New Jersey during the pandemic, helping them secure a safe place to stay and providing food, emotional support and other assistance. Volunteers have also stepped up to assist with pandemic-related assignments including care and comfort kit assembly for frontline workers and military members, and canteen services as requested at testing sites around the state.
“Every day, people in New Jersey rely on us to help prevent and alleviate their suffering, and we’re grateful to our volunteers and employees working to support those we serve, as well as to our generous donors who make the Red Cross mission possible,” added Taravella.
Last year, the Red Cross responded to 848 local disasters in New Jersey, mostly home fires, helping more than 2,000 displaced families with emergency assistance.
BLOOD DONORS SAVE LIVES In 2020, Red Cross blood drive cancellations tripled compared to the year prior — mostly due to COVID-19. Since March, more than 50,000 blood drives were canceled nationwide as the pandemic forced schools, businesses and community organizations to close. The Red Cross alerted the public to the crisis and people came out to donate blood — many of them giving for the first time.
“The Red Cross is thankful to all of the people in New Jersey who came out, rolled up their sleeve and donated blood,” said Taravella. “Our heartfelt appreciation goes out to our volunteer blood donor ambassadors and transportation specialists helping to provide cancer patients, trauma victims and others with lifesaving blood. We also appreciate all of the New Jersey organizations and businesses who continue to hold blood drives during the pandemic, knowing how important blood donation is to the health of the community.”
Blood donation is an essential service, and everyone’s well-being is top priority for the Red Cross. The organization follows the latest public health guidelines, as well as has put additional precautions in place to ensure everyone’s safety.
This pandemic has also caused the Red Cross to adapt its collections to include plasma from COVID-19 survivors to potentially help those battling the virus recover. Thousands of COVID-19 survivors have stepped up to share their potentially lifesaving antibodies by giving plasma, including many in New Jersey. Since April, nearly 25,000 COVID-19 survivors nationwide have rolled up a sleeve — many of whom are new to blood donation. Their donations have enabled the Red Cross to ship nearly 50,000 units to hospitals across the country treating COVID-19 patients.
HOW YOU CAN HELP On Giving Tuesday and during the holiday season, help people in need by donating at redcross.org/gift. A gift of any size makes a difference. If you’re healthy and feeling well, we also urge you to donate blood this holiday season. Your blood donation can make a lifesaving difference for a patient in need. Visit RedCrossBlood.org to schedule an appointment today.
NEW JERSEY CORPORATIONS AND FOUNDATIONS HELP The generous donations from members of the following giving programs enable the American Red Cross to prepare communities for disasters big and small, respond whenever and wherever disasters occur and help families during the recovery process. Annual Disaster Giving Program: BMW of North America; Bristol Myers Squibb; Merck Foundation and Verizon. Disaster Responder Program: Prudential Financial. Blood Saves Lives Partner: Suburban Propane. Ready 365 New Jersey Program: ADP; The Allstate Foundation; BD; Benjamin Moore Paints; Church & Dwight Employee Giving Fund; Daiichi Sankyo; Dun & Bradstreet; Franklin Mutual Insurance Company; Investors Bank; LG Electronics; Lord Abbett & Co. LLC; Mindtree Limited; New Jersey Natural Gas; Newell Brands; Novartis; Peerless Beverage Company; PSEG; Samsung; Subaru of America; TD Bank, N.A.; Terumo Medical Corporation and The Kirby Foundation.
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 redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.
About the American Red Cross in New Jersey:
The American Red Cross provides programs and services to a population of 8.8 million in New Jersey. The Red Cross trains and mobilizes more than 4,400 volunteers who support the delivery of services throughout the state. In New Jersey last year, the Red Cross responded to 848 local disasters, mostly home fires, helping 2,004 displaced families; collected more than 90,923 units of blood through blood drives and Red Cross Blood Donation Centers; provided more than 6,898 military family case services with emergency messages, helping families find assistance and/or get counseling and referrals; and trained 72,073 people with life-saving skills in preparedness, CPR, AED use, first aid and aquatics. For more information, please visit redcross.org/NJ and follow us on Twitter @NJRedCross.org.
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