NEW YORK, APRIL 18, 2022 – American Red Cross in Greater NY today announced that Nancy Soto, a Brooklyn-based volunteer of over 20 years, was recognized by Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso through a citation. As part of National Volunteer Week, which is held from April 17-23, Soto, a Bay Ridge resident of over 30 years, was recognized for her selfless service to New Yorkers after emergencies large and small. Soto gives of her time to the organization as a Disaster Response Manager. In that role she helps provide comfort and care to individuals affected by home fires, floods, building collapses and other emergencies that upend lives every day in Greater NY.
The citation issued by Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso commended Soto for her outstanding contributions she has made over the years to help ensure that communities thrive as we move towards a Brooklyn for all.
“Nancy Soto embodies the spirit of Brooklyn, one of selflessness and helping others. Brooklynites bring with them a natural sense of community that expands from their immediate surrounds, making organizations like Red Cross so important to our values. Cheers to Nancy for her work. May she inspire others,” said Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso.
“Nancy’s incredible compassion and community spirit is an example for us all. She is a true humanitarian, representing the best of this City and the best of this country,” said Mary Barneby, Regional CEO, American Red Cross in Greater NY. “Our work would not be possible without volunteers like her, who represent 90% of the Red Cross workforce.”
Soto was first inspired to volunteer in January of 2001 after watching news coverage of a large NYC fire on TV. Heartbroken by the images of so many displaced families standing in the street after losing everything, she learned that the Red Cross was offering help.
“I wanted to join because you never know,” said Soto. “It could be my neighborhood next time. It could be someone I know. It could be me in need of help.”
Soon after, she called the organization to inquire about volunteering, got trained and joined a team of fellow New Yorkers who take weekly shifts to help after local disasters. This was the beginning of a long volunteer journey for Soto, more than two decades helping others. She estimates she has responded to well over a thousand emergencies.
“After disasters, it’s so important for people to know that they are not alone,” Soto said of the significance of her volunteer work.
Given her fulltime job as an HR Manger, Soto regularly takes weekend and overnight volunteer shifts—sometimes totaling 30 to 40 hours a week. After the remnants of Hurricane Ida devastated our area last summer, Soto worked late into the night in Queens, in neighborhoods badly impacted by the floodwaters. Soon after returning home to Brooklyn on the morning of Friday, September 3, 2021, Soto recalled taking a quick shower before starting her paid job for the day.
“I’ve become a big advocate of hour-long naps,” she joked.
In addition to helping in NYC, Soto has also deployed outside our region with the Red Cross: after flooding in Upstate NY and in advance of a major hurricane along the Gulf Coast.
“The more work that I did, the more passion I got for it [the Red Cross mission],” she said, adding that this unpaid work, brought her “more compassion, more understanding and more friendships.”
With the support of volunteers like Soto, the Red Cross provided assistance following approximately 2400 disasters in NYC last year, including 560+ in Brooklyn.
To learn more about becoming a volunteer with the Red Cross, visit our volunteer page.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides comfort to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; distributes international humanitarian aid; and supports veterans, military members and their families. The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCrossNY.