Monday, November 5, 2012

Red Cross Continues Massive Relief Response to Sandy

Western New York Companies, volunteers assist in efforts

BUFFALO, NY, November 5, 2012 – The American Red Cross is continuing a massive relief response following Superstorm Sandy, providing food, shelter, relief supplies and comfort to people affected by the storm. More than 5,300 trained Red Cross disaster workers from all over the country are supporting shelters, providing food and water at fixed sites and driving through affected neighborhoods to distribute meals and supplies. The entire Red Cross fleet of Emergency Response Vehicles (ERVs), more than 320 in total, has been activated to distribute meals, water, snacks and relief supplies.

Volunteer Pete Swales of Springville (Center) with other
members of the Disaster Assessment team in Queens, NY
To date, the Red Cross has helped families and individuals in ten states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico affected by Sandy. The Red Cross served more than one million meals and snacks, provided more than 54,000 overnight stays, made more than 17,000 health services and emotional support contacts and handed out more than 60,000 relief items.

The response to Sandy is likely to be the biggest Red Cross response in the United States in the past five years. Western New York corporations and individuals have stepped up to support these efforts, especially those companies with employees and customers in affected areas:
  •        M&T Bank is donating $250,000 to assist those affected by Sandy, will match all contributions made M&T employees, directors, and retirees and collect contributions from the public at any of its branches;
  •          The First Niagara Bank Foundation made a $100,000 donation and established a bank-wide Red Cross donation account that customers can deposit money into;
  •          Praxair Foundation is making a $50,000 donation to support relief efforts in Connecticut where their headquarters are located and an additional $10,000 to support the American Red Cross in Buffalo;
  •          Wegmans Buffalo Division is making a $10,000 donation;
  •          Tops Markets have made a $5,000; DiMino’s Lewiston Tops Market is making an additional $5,000 donation. 

Dozens of other Western New York corporations have also made generous gifts to support the Red Cross relief to Sandy, and media outlets including WGRZ-TV, WKBW-TV, WBBZ-TV and Buffalo Rising have donated advertising space and/or live broadcast time to encourage donations. In addition, the Red Cross thanks individuals from across Western New York who have made gifts large and small to support the Red Cross efforts.

Two additional volunteers from the Western New York Region are leaving Tuesday to work in the Red Cross relief efforts. Lizbeth Booth from Grand Island and Sue Olexenko of Amherst will serve as Disaster Mental Health workers, providing emotional support to those dealing with the trauma caused by Sandy. Booth and Olexenko make a total of 31 staff and volunteers from the eight counties of the Western New York region that have been deployed as part of the Red Cross response to Sandy:

NAME, HOMETOWN                   FUNCTION                                                             
Anthony Addotta, West Seneca            Logistics
Phillip Baker, Jamestown                     Logistics
Lizbeth Booth, Grand Island                Disaster Mental Health
Carl Chamberlain, Lockport                 Disaster Mental Health
James Collingwood, Amherst               External Relations/Government Operations
Tom Daley, Tonawanda                       Mass Care/Sheltering
Janice Davis, Friendship                       Disaster Health Services
Martin Doster, Getzville                        Feeding/ERV
Marieanna Elliott, Hamburg                Disaster Mental Health
Marianne Evans, Ransomville             Mass Care/Sheltering
James France, Amherst                        Feeding/ERV
Allison Hall, Buffalo                              Disaster Mental Health
Michael Hoplight, Niagara Falls           Mass Care/Shelter Supervisor
Tara Hughes, Amherst                          Disaster Mental Health Chief
Norman Kehl, Strykersville                   Mass Care/Sheltering
Kevin Kelley, Medina                             Mass Care/Sheltering
Jose Latalladi, Buffalo                           Financial & Statistical Information
Rosalind Lind, Medina                           Mass Care/Sheltering
Margaret McGee-Smith, Kenmore       Disaster Mental Health
Hollyann Moffett, Dunkirk                    Mass Care/Sheltering
Diane Sargent, Lockport                        Disaster Assessment
Michael Schultz, Kenmore                     External Relations/Public Affairs
Beth Shook, Cuba                                   Staff Services
Katherine Story, West Seneca                Disaster Health Services
Peter Swales, Springville                         Disaster Assessment
Terry Sweet, P0rtageville                       Mass Care/Sheltering
William Tucker, Jamestown                  Mass Care/Sheltering
SWNY Volunteer, Bemus Point             Feeding/ERV
SWNY Volunteer, Bemus Point             Feeding/ERV
Noel Varela, Orchard Park                     Mass Care/Sheltering (Returned home)
Dawn Zaker, Niagara Falls                     Mass Care/Sheltering                 

HOW TO HELP The response to Sandy is likely to be the biggest Red Cross response in the U.S. in the past five years. Those who want to help can make a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief by visiting, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. They can also use the “donate” feature on the free Red Cross Apps for mobile devices to support this relief response. Contributions may also be sent to local Red Cross chapters or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.

GIVE BLOOD Hundreds of Red Cross blood drives have been cancelled due to the storm, representing a loss of thousands of blood and platelet products. The Red Cross is asking people who are eligible, especially in places not affected by the storm, to schedule a time to give blood in the days and weeks to come.

To schedule a donation time or get more information about giving blood, people can visit or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). To give blood, someone must be at least 17 years of age, meet weight and height requirements and be in general good health. Donors should bring their Red Cross blood donor card or other form of positive ID with them. Some states allow 16-year-olds to give with parental consent.

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