Saturday, September 15, 2018

21 Western and Central New York Volunteers Supporting Hurricane Florence Response

20,000+ people in more than 200 shelters overnight Thursday

BUFFALO, NY, Saturday, September 15, 2018 21 American Red Cross volunteers and two Emergency Response Vehicles (ERV) from the Western and Central New York Region are deploying to support the response to Hurricane Florence (updates in bold):

NAME                                    HOMETOWN          ACTIVITY                 LOCATION
John Thomas Aldasch            Canastota                   Sheltering                   North Carolina
Pete Bonaccorso                        Fairport                         ERV Driver                   North Carolina
Donna Davis                       Burdett                     Gov Ops                    South Carolina
Michelle Fiermonte                Syracuse                     Sheltering                   North Carolina
Laurie Hagen                             West Seneca                  Sheltering                      North Carolina
Charlene Hanson                   Niagara Falls              Health Services          South Carolina
Chuck Haupt                       Owego                       Distribution            South Carolina
Thomas Lee Hough                East Syracuse             Sheltering                   North Carolina
Tom Margrave                    Cortland                   Spiritual Care         North Carolina
Diana McLaughlin                 Rochester                   Staff Services              South Carolina
Lewis Montemaggi                 Pittsford                      Sheltering                   North Carolina
Lorraine Morris                      Bath                            Customer Service       North Carolina
Donald Nelson                   Endwell                    Sheltering                South Carolina
Deborah Scherberger             Rochester                   Sheltering                   South Carolina
Christine Schutterop        Pittsford                   Sheltering                North Carolina
Steven Schwartz                Buffalo                      Staff Relations        South Carolina
Mark Sennett                         Fairport                       Sheltering                   South Carolina
Beverly Skinner                      Liverpool                    Health Services          South Carolina
Deb Thompson                          Lima                               ERV Driver                    North Carolina
Mary Jane Uttech              Marathon                 Health Services      North Carolina
Barbara Woodarek           Great Valley             Feeding                     South Carolina

In addition, four regional volunteers are supporting the response virtually: Lucille Frisicano of Webster, Sarah Perkins of Pittsford, Nancy Hall of Trumansburg, and Suganthi Roy of Rochester.

The American Red Cross is helping people in multiple states as Hurricane Florence pummels the Carolinas with strong winds, heavy rain and dangerous tidal surges. Twice the size of Louisiana, Florence is inundating communities and leaving hundreds of thousands without power.
As Hurricane Florence comes ashore, the Red Cross is providing safe shelter and comfort for evacuees across six states. More than 20,000 people sought refuge in more than 200 Red Cross and community shelters Thursday night to escape the storm’s wrath. View some of their stories here.

As of midnight, 14,000 people were in 124 shelters in North Carolina, and 5,600 people in 59 shelters in South Carolina. An additional 430 people stayed in 23 shelters in Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee and Maryland.

About 2,000 Red Cross disaster workers from all over the country have been mobilized to help shelter, feed and support people affected by Florence. Working with partners, the Red Cross has served 47,000 meals and snacks in North Carolina and South Carolina. To bolster relief efforts, the Red Cross is mobilizing nearly 100 emergency response vehicles and more than 120 trailers of equipment and supplies, including 100,000 ready-to-eat meals and enough cots and blankets for more than 42,000 people.

Some evacuation centers may not have cots, food, running water or electricity; they are meant to safely house people for about 72 hours until the storm passes and weather conditions improve. If needed, local government officials may transition evacuation centers into emergency shelters if residents can’t return home after the storm passes. The Red Cross supports pre-landfall evacuation centers and post-landfall emergency shelters with trained workers, shelter supplies and other aid.
Since September 11, more than 2.5 million weather alerts have been sent through Red Cross apps to help people make lifesaving decisions.

HOW YOU CAN HELP The Red Cross depends on financial donations to be able to provide disaster relief immediately. Help people affected by Hurricane Florence by visiting, calling 1- 800-RED CROSS or texting the word FLORENCE to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
Donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from this disaster.

The Red Cross honors donor intent. Donors can designate their donation to Hurricane Florence relief efforts by choosing that option when donating on or on 1-800-RED CROSS.
The best way to ensure your donation will go to a specific disaster is to write the specific disaster name in the memo line of a check. We also recommend completing and mailing the donation form on with your check.

PLEASE GIVE BLOOD More than 140 blood drives have been canceled through early next week due to Hurricane Florence, resulting in over 4,200 uncollected blood and platelet donations. Eligible donors in unaffected areas are urged to make an appointment now to give blood or platelets to help maintain the nation’s blood supply. There is a critical need to platelet and type O blood donations. Appointments can be made by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
Get tips on how to prepare and stay safe at

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, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Ten Regional Volunteers Deploying to Support Hurricane Florence Response

BUFFALO, NY, Tuesday, September 11, 2018  Hurricane Florence is an extremely dangerous storm and is on track to strike the coast of South Carolina or North Carolina, beginning Wednesday. States of emergency have been declared in Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. The Red Cross is working in close collaboration with government officials and community partners to coordinate potential response efforts.

Ten volunteers and two Emergency Response Vehicles (ERV) from the Western and Central New York Region are deploying to support the Red Cross response to Hurricane Florence:

NAME                                    HOMETOWN          ACTIVITY                 LOCATION
John Thomas Aldasch            Canastota                   Sheltering                   North Carolina
Pete Bonaccorso                       Fairport                     ERV Driver                 North Carolina
Michelle Fiermonte                 Syracuse                     Sheltering                  North Carolina
Laurie Hagen                            West Seneca              Sheltering                   North Carolina
Thomas Lee Hough                  East Syracuse           Sheltering                   North Carolina
Diana McLaughlin                   Rochester                   Staff Services             South Carolina
Lewis Montemaggi                   Pittsford                    Sheltering                   North Carolina
Deborah Scherberger               Rochester                  Sheltering                   South Carolina
Mark Sennett                             Fairport                     Sheltering                   South Carolina
Deb Thompson                          Lima                           ERV Driver                 North Carolina

In addition, three regional volunteers will be supporting the response virtually: Lucille Frisicano of Webster, Sarah Perkins of Pittsford, and Nancy Hall of Trumansburg.

As we hit the peak of hurricane season, several powerful storms are impacting hundreds of thousands of people across the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. The American Red Cross is prepared to respond over 9,000 miles of land and sea through the next several days to help those in the path of these storms.

In addition to Hurricane Florence, Typhoon Mangkhut was expected to hit Guam, a U.S. territory in the western Pacific. The storm could bring winds as high as 139 mph, with effects of the typhoon lasting several days. Also, Hurricane Olivia is expected to cross over Hawaii today and Wednesday, and watches are in effect for Oahu, Maui, and Hawaii counties. Olivia is predicted to bring strong winds and as much as 20 inches of rain to parts of the state.

People in the path of these storms should stay informed and take steps to get prepared now. Listen to local radio, NOAA radio, or TV stations for the latest information and updates, and obey any evacuation orders from local officials.

The Red Cross urges these three steps: build a disaster kit, come up with an emergency plan, and be informed about how local authorities will notify you, whether through local media or NOAA Weather Radio stations or channels.

People should also download the free Red Cross Emergency App to have real time information about the storm, shelter locations, and hurricane safety tips at your fingertips. The Emergency App is available in app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to

The Red Cross works 24/7 to be ready to respond to disasters such as hurricanes. Please donate to the Red Cross now to help. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to, and help people recover from disasters big and small. Visit, call 1-800-RED CROSS, or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Sound the Alarm: The volunteer experience

On Saturday, April 28th I got to be a part of an amazing experience within the American Red Cross. Myself and a bunch of other volunteers got to be a part of the Sound the Alarm Campaign by helping reduce home fires by installing free smoke alarms inside people's homes.

Did you know that every day, seven people die in home fires? Most in homes that lack working smoke alarms. The American Red Cross wants to improve the odds and save lives and that's why the Red Cross launched their Home Fire Campaign back in 2014.

My Duties along with other Red Cross volunteers consisted of:

  • Installing free smoke alarms
  • Replace batteries in existing alarms
  • Provide fire prevention and safety education 
  • Canvass at-risk neighborhoods 

Thanks to all the volunteers and partners who participated in the Sound the Alarm Campaign across Western New York they ended up installing over 711 free smoke alarms, surpassing our goal of 550!! That's over 220 homes and families made safer. The Sound the Alarm Campaign at the Southern Tier Red Cross Chapter installed over 330 free smoke alarms on that same day!

 If you are interested in volunteering it's not too late! On Saturday, May 5th the Greater Rochester Red Cross Chapter is holding their Sound the Alarm Campaign. Also, the Central New York Chapter and Finger Lakes Chapter is holding their Sound the Alarm Campaign on Saturday, May 12th. For more information on how you can be involved visit:

--Angela Lorusso
Communications Intern

Monday, April 23, 2018

Volunteerism: Above & Beyond

I spotted a whole box of bagels at the kitchen on Friday!

“Doug is here!” said by one staff member at the Central New York Chapter. The “anonymous” guy (at least he thinks he is) is Doug North, who was here at the Syracuse office attending a meeting for the launch of Sound the Alarm and he brought us bagels like he often does.

Today, I am going to introduce you to Doug North, our amazing volunteer. Last Wednesday, Doug was presented with the Volunteerism: Above & Beyond award from the United Way of Central New York, honoring his exemplary selfless service to members of the community. Doug became a Red Cross Volunteer with the Central New York Chapter on October 9, 2014. He is an outstanding Chapter Disaster Action Team Leader responsible for coordinating the efforts of his team as first responders on the scene of a local disaster. The team responds to disaster scenes, day or night, so they can provide emergency assistance to families who have been displaced due to fires, floods, etc. He and his team responded to 47 emergency calls in 2017.

Doug works full time, but he logged an amazing 2,066 disaster response on-call hours and an impressive 423 general hours volunteering in a variety of positions last year. In addition to Disaster Services, he works as a volunteer caseworker for the Service of the Armed Forces Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) team. Doug provided 20 briefings for 963 family members of new military recruits.

When Doug and his team respond to home fires, they meet with the impacted residents to determine their immediate needs. “They may have just lost everything and what we can do is to provide the financial assistance to provide them clothes, to book hotels for them, to help them get through the first few days,” said Doug. No matter what the need, Doug never hesitates to leave his bed, his home and his family to help strangers in their time of greatest need. His family says they don’t think he knows the words “no” or “can’t.” Doug is often on call, and he volunteered his time on Independence Day and Thanksgiving last year. It’s in his nature to help people in need. The question they often ask is, “What should I do now?” It may be 2 a.m., they’re in their pajamas watching their home burn and here comes the Red Cross to offer help and comfort.

When I asked Doug to give me some inspiring quotes so that we can pass on to people. He said, “I don’t know if I really have any inspiring quotes, but I know the Red Cross is helping people when they are lost. The power of the Red Cross is being able to coordinate with our partners and supporters to pass the kindness of people to those in need.” People like Doug, and other Red Cross volunteers build bridges to help in their lowest points.

Thank you, Doug for all you do for our community.

Cara Wang - Communications Intern