Thursday, December 9, 2010

What does "Help from the Red Cross" Really Mean?

You hear it all the time on the news after a fire or other disaster--"The Red Cross is assisting the family."  That sounds good, but what does it really mean?  Well, here's what it meant for one family forced out of the house they were renting by last week's lake effect snow machine!

Our Disaster Action Team volunteers responded to the scene on Lemans Road in Depew last Thursday, after the weight of multiple feet of snow caused the roof to collapse on the home.  The Red Cross provided the family with money for food, new clothes, and a hotel stay through Monday. 

On Monday, the family came into our Chapter to ask for more help.  The Red Cross provided them with additional clothing and other supplies for their infant child, and extended their hotel stay through Thursday.  Our staff also discussed a long-term recovery plan with the family, and will help in any way we can as they try to put their lives back in order.  The Red Cross has even offered to assist the family with the security deposit and first month's rent once they find an apartment!  Our Disaster Action Team is looking forward to meeting with the family today to get an update on their progress and offer them further assistance.

The American Red Cross, Greater Buffalo Chapter helps hundreds of families like this one who suddenly find themselves homeless after a fire, flooding, or yes, even a massive lake-effect snow storm every year.  But we need your help to be able to provide these services to our neighbors.  This holiday season, please consider giving the gift that saves the day!  Text GIFT to 90999 to send a $25 donation to the American Red Cross.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Send a holiday card to hereos!

Reverend Jan Mahle has been a Campus Minister at D’Youville College since November, 1999.  During her time at the college the Campus Ministry has made a concerted effort to connect D’Youville faculty, staff and students to a variety of volunteer opportunities, and this fall semester we were delighted to have them partner with us for the Holiday Mail for Heroes campaign.

“What I liked most about this volunteer project,” said Reverend Mahle, “was that it gave everyone involved an opportunity to express their gratitude to soldiers, their families or veterans in their own words.”


The D’Youville Campus Ministry Federal work study students, first year student classes, the Campus Community Club and staff participated in this college-wide campaign, creating over 160 cards that will eventually be sent to service members, veterans and their families.   

“At first, students were hesitant because they didn’t know what to write” said Reverend Mahle “However, once they were given a couple of suggestions, their expressions of gratitude and sentiment were a joy to read... This campaign gives people the chance to be creative, very personal, and express words of gratitude such as one staff member with a brother in the military did when she wrote, “Dear Military Hero, May you find peace in your heart knowing that people unknown to you wish you a safe mission and return home.””

It’s not too late for the Buffalo community to participate in this campaign. So gather your families, friends, employees and coworkers together to make a card to show your appreciation for a service member, veteran or their family.  Be sure to get your cards out by December 10th!  To learn more, please visit us at the Greater Buffalo Chapter of the American Red Cross.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Winter warm-up!

If you are like many other Buffalonians, you may not have realized that parts of the area were hit by a massive lake effect snow storm that shut down portions of the New York State Thruway for nearly 48 hours this past week!  While some individuals were still seeing green out their windows, others were trying to keep up with the feet of snow that were quickly beginning to accumulate.  If you were lucky, you at least made it home.   
Hundreds of people were stranded on the Thruway for hours before emergency personnel could reach them.  More than 80 people accepted transportation to the American Red Cross’s warming center at the Cheektowaga Senior Center on Broadway. While we couldn’t help these individuals free their stranded vehicles, we were able to provide them with a warm meal and some basic comforts while they waited for safe transportation to their area homes.  We also provided hotel rooms for 13 individuals who were not from this area so that they had a safe to be until their cars were excavated from the snow pile that had once been the Thruway.
With the first official day of winter not until December 21 and Buffalo already being hit by a major snow storm, we here at the Chapter hope that everyone takes the hint and starts preparing!  If you were one of those 80 individuals stranded in their cars for over 18 hours, would you have had blankets, food, water and activities to sustain you? If not, the time to start making a preparedness kit for your car is now, since even more snow is predicted for the Buffalo area this week.  
You can click here for tips on making your own kit or visit our store to purchase one of our premade kits. 
If you think that your school, company or other organization would benefit from a Be Red Cross Ready presentation that addresses issues such as winter preparedness, please contact Denise Herkey-Jarosch, Regional Coordinator, NYS Citizens Preparedness Program at (716) 878-2231 to set up a presentation.